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~The Age of Heroes~
Rated T, for fantasy violence, blood, language and moderate romance (?)
Bear in mind, this RP takes place in a Pokemon-only world that has absolutely nothing to do with the games or the series.
The OOC thread is located here.
"Shouldn't we be going back?" Seth said, watching the sun sink behind the mountains, shrouding the ruins in the golden light of the sunset. "It's getting late."
"You're scared, aren't you?" the Ghastly called Bane said, with just a hint of his grin.
Seth shrugged. He was but a little, young Meowth, able only for finding and picking up treasures from the ruins. "I'd be stupid if I wasn't scared. The dead rise here by night, you know that as well as I."
"What I know is that if we return to Area 52 with empty hands, Elder Durand's gonna demote us from rangers to freakin' washerboys." The Ghastly let out his obscene, ominous laugh. "You wanna wash his robes, is that it?!"
"What? No," Seth said, shaking his furry head.
"Eh, then here's your choice. Wash clothes or find something worth of bringing back with us to Area 52."
Then we can get the hell outta this place before it gets dark, the Meowth thought. It was his job to pick treasures up, and Bane's to keep watch over the area, without separating. The first rule of ranging in these ruins was never to separate.
He looked around the ruins. They had been a great city, once. All that was left behind was runestones, broken columns made of stones, more stones that dated back to the Making... and the dead, it was said. The spirits of the Fenju who rose after the city's destruction to haunt it.
"Best get on with it, then," he conceded, sighing.
"Hey, no use worrying 'bout the rumors. Dead men tell no tales," Bane said and floated forward, over a broken column. They were in the middle of what had once been a street. Fissures had cracked it up and a fat column had fallen across it. Seth half shut his eyes and scanned the area. Nothing of note. Usually, even a rotted apple would do count as a treasure. If the dead men told no tales, they weren't like to eat anything either. The very presence of food would be a thing worth of speculation.
Before his first ranging in the Fenju citadel, the stories about it would turn his bowels into water. After a few times, he had laughed at them. Sometimes, he would be left out here by night, when the dead rose, supposedly. He had survived all of these. There is nothing for me to be afraid of, he tried to convince himself. Or was there? Something was different about this night. The dark that was quickly falling had a sharp edge that made the hair behind his neck rise. He felt as if he was being watched by something cold, something that loved him not.
The little Meowth started walking forward into the gradually darkening street, hopping onto the dead, cold column that had collapsed across it.
"Look, Bane," he shouted, looking at a canal that passed next to the street. The city's canals had long gone dry and had revealed countless treasures that had washed down from the spear-like mountain in the middle of the city, where waterfalls once came crushing down on the trench around it, to flow around in the canals. "Elder Durand says alotta stuff washed down these canals, they should be full of loot." The sun had sunk behind the mountains now, painting the sky an ominous purple.
The Ghastly looked over the area like a ward of some sort. Seth rolled his eyes, knowing that look well. It meant he was thinking. A pity he doesn't do that often, he thought, crossing his arms and tapping his foot on the column. He felt like a hero, elevated as he was on the edge of the column, the darkness of the canal beneath him. Seth had wanted to be a hero for as long as he could remember. But being a hero meant he possessed mastery over a single of the sixteen elements. Elder Durand had caught him trying different types of attacks on the dummies of Area 52's training yard, hoping to find out that he was indeed talented in using one of them. But the Elder had explained that if he was indeed favored with that gift, they would have found out long ago. And that shattered his dreams.
"Let's see where that canal leads," Bane suggested, "the sewers are sealed as far as we know, but who knows, we just might get lucky."
Seth's bitter laugh echoed in the ruins. "I haven't known luck since I was promoted into a ranger," he said. And that was a long time ago. "But now I've come to doubt it was a lucky thing." He shivered, feeling the dark creeping up. Suddenly, he jerked his head up, to see if something was leaning over him, but he only saw a star. The first star of the night.
"What's the matter with you?" the ghost sounded irritated. "Jump down already, I don't wanna be here all night. Get a move on!"
"Alright, alright, jeez," he shouted and jumped into the darkness of the canal. He would be afraid of falling too deep and breaking something, but he knew the depth of the canal. He had seen it countless of times before during daylight. The landing came easily for him.
He felt the cold, hard stone beneath his paws, then looked up into the darkness. Oh, Arceus help me, what am I doing here? There was no chance he would find anything in this dark. Normally, he could see through it, as all the Meowths were gifted with eyes that could pierce the darkness. But not this darkness, it seemed... something is awry... oh, Arceus, oh, I'd rather wash Durand's clothes than this...
"Bane?" he called out.
No response came. He jerked around, to find that the Ghastly had gone from sight. Fear grasped him and he shook. "Come on, this isn't the least bit funny," he called out to the thick black.
Soft laughter came from somewhere on his left. Bane's white smile flashed in the dark as he loomed up close. "Think I found something," he said. "You can't even do your job right!"
"It's been a bad day, okay?" Seth snapped as he tried to scan the dark to look for anything.
A high pitched scream torn the skies, startling the Meowth and making him jump in place. His fur was bristled as he locked his eyes on the source of the sound: a little dark Murkrow, with perfectly round, mean red eyes. It was sitting in the middle of nowhere, frantically looking right and left without ever noticing the two rangers approaching it. Even when they were close to it, its red eyes brushed right past them onto somewhere else, never seeing them.
"Huh," Seth said, "a wild Murkrow, is it?"
"No wild Pokemon ever come here," Bane said in a tone of suspicion that Seth did not like. It is true, wild Pokemon don't have a good cause to come here. Might be they have more sense than us. He leaned in to the Murkrow, thinking perhaps it was lost from the forest; Duskwood was a known home to Murkrows and the like. Reaching out for it, it screamed again.
"Back off," Bane said curtly, suddenly sounding afraid.
"What?" Seth backed off. The Murkrow had vanished out of sight, as if merged with the darkness that engulfed the area. He jerked to Bane, who was about to say something...
A hysterical evil laughter pierced the grave silence of the ruins and many shadows blacker than the night engulfed him, blocking his sight. He stumbled backwards and fell on the cold stone bottom of the canal. Bane was nowhere to be seen. His whole body was being pinched, bites of his flesh being taken out. The Murkrows were pecking at him all over his body as the insane laughter echoed and echoed, covering up his own screams... the murder of crows was so thick he could not ward them off with his slashes. Blood trickled down his head, blurring his vision. He fell and tried to protect his face. Amongst the Murkrows, he thought he saw a darker, feline figure walking toward him, laughter booming out of it.
"I am sorry," the figure whispered apologetically, without stopping his evil laughter, but Seth was drowning in the absurdity of the moment and his own blood.
"Long ago, the ancients discovered the secrets of Arceus’s Plates. They found that all of existence is based on the sixteen elements. They used the power of the Plates to forge a dazzling civilization from the elements. And they made their wildest dreams come true. The Fenju flourished here in Altica, until the very faith that held them together separated them. The Faithful remained in the Citadel to worship Arceus in the Sanctum of the Original One, while the Trueborn left for the north to build their own city, Cyala," Elder Durand said solemnly, looking off to the sunset.
The Arcanine next to him was shrouded in golden light. He was watching Durand with a sacred kind of attention; he had heard all of this before, but Tsulong had always been a devoted student of his.
"War was inevitable. The nightmare begun," he continued, "the abuse of the power of the Plates threatened to tear apart all of Altica. Neither Fenju nor Cyala would yield... so the Paragons rose from their havens, and did the unthinkable: they sealed away the power of the Plates, so that no one could use it. Civilization was saved, but the world itself started crumbling apart slowly – lands go barren, seas go dry, mountains are drawn into the ground." Elder Durand half shut his eyes, observing the last rays of the sun as it sunk deeper and deeper in the west. The future was in the light. As a Xatu, Durand had a formidable ability in telling the future... though the visions the setting sun gave him were not always clear.
The sun was now dark, as if it was not giving light but darkness.
"I am afraid," Durand confessed to his young apprentice, "the abuse of the Plates has wrought more destruction than we have yet seen. The world is now slowly falling into the darkest of ages that come before the final, fatal blow that will mean our extinction…"
Tsulong looked off to the sunset as well, then back to Durand. "I don't doubt you," he started, "but the calamities did stop after the Seal. Maybe our world is saved, after all."
"The Seal did not prevent the world's dying. It simply slowed it. Elements - such as those of earth, wind, water and fire - are the building blocks of all matter. Everything you see around you, even us, is a combination of those elements. When the Paragons sealed the power of the Plates, the natural growth of the elements ceased to exist. Without the Plates of Arceus to check the elements, the world itself will drift into nothing."
The Arcanine nodded quietly. "But it's not too late... is it?"
"No, it is not. The power of Arceus will heal the world, I reckon... our God is merciful, Tsulong. He would not let the world die. But with his power sealed, there is not much he can do. With half his Plates scattered, he is powerless."
"So... you're suggesting we should give Arceus his power back."
Durand was aware of Tsulong's judging stare and felt bad. His apprentice did have the ability to make him uncomfortable at times. He did not admit it, but for all the years he was the Elder of Area 52, that is exactly what he sought to see: Arceus's power unleashed upon the world, the civilization of the Fenju coming to life once again. "It is quite unthinkable, yes," he admitted, "for the Paragons have forbidden it. We have no choice in this matter, Tsulong. If it is not us who unite the Plates again, it will be the mad King." He scowled at the very thought, screwing up his beak. King Aion of Cyala had officially started a hunt for the Plates. If a whole kingdom is searching for them, the time when they find all of them ought to be near. "Say he does unleash the power of Arceus. Do you think he would not reach out to grasp it?"
Tsulong looked down, licking his nose in thinking. "Well," he conceded, "knowing the mad King, that is exactly what he'd do. What else?" He let out a brief howling laughter. "Surely not to heal the world."
Surely not, Durand agreed. Silence hung over them for a while. They looked over the ravaged Fenju Plateau, once a lush forest, now grey sands and ash. To the west, their eyes were fixed on the distant ruins of the Fenju citadel, with the spear-like mountain in the middle of them. Each time during the sunset, Mount Aegis would look like as if piercing the sun, until it sunk all the way down behind the mountains. Durand's father had chosen this exact location to build Area 52, just to see Mount Aegis stand in front of the sun every time during this hour.
"At the peak of Mount Aegis, Arceus rests," Durand said, brooding, "the ancients built the Sanctum of the Original One for him to earn his favor. The entrance has been sealed a hundred years ago, along with his Plates... but I think we may be able to enter," his voice trailed off. Their eyes met.
"Are you sure, grandpa?" That's how Tsulong called him ever since he hatched from his egg, but he didn't mind. He felt like his grandfather, after all.
"I am sure," he said. Area 52 has now something we did not have before... heroes who possess multiple Elemental Masteries. The secrets of the temple were sealed away in a vault, and somewhere in that vault, the way to the peak of the mountain was hidden.
They heard heavy footsteps behind them. "Guardian," he heard Tsulong shout. A massive bulwark of a Pokemon was approaching them. It was a Golurk with three words carved on his neck, reflecting the golden light of the sunset: Obey. Serve. Protect. Guardian was keeping vigil of Area 52 for almost a hundred years, still unfailing and unflinching in his duty. Cold and hard as stone on the outside, but with a golden heart, a true gentle giant.
"This one greets you," Guardian's deep, stony voice called out. He stood towering over them, looking down. "Reports from the last ranging have not yet made their arrival. Rangers Seth and Bane were last seen in the ruins, the day that passed, during the time of the falling sun." He was repeating the words of his associates; Durand had noticed the Golurk was doing that often, as if trying to word it otherwise was a difficult procedure for him.
Nevertheless, his words agitated the old Xatu. "They stayed there during the night?"
"This one confirms, Elder. The telescope of Lookout Cabin let us know of the presence of thirds in the ruins."
He exchanged a look with Tsulong. Presence of thirds, that meant somebodies had intruded the ruins. They have no business there. Unless they are the King's men. King Aion no doubt would like to have a look inside the Sanctum. "Who are the thirds?"
The Golurk did not reply for a bit, watching Durand carefully. "King Aion's mercenaries." Just as I feared.
"We need to be there," Tsulong said decisively.
"The dead scourge the Metropolis at night, it is known," Guardian objected quietly. The Metropolis, that was how he called the Fenju ruins. The name had come to fashion and every member of Area 52's small community was using it.
"The moon is full tonight, and the clouds have taken their leave," Durand argued, "it will be a night with stars." We must get to the Sanctum before they do, protect it if it must needs to come to that... though the intruders were not likely to break into the Sanctum.
Tsulong shifted his snout stubbornly and turned to his Elder, who smiled wanly, knowing what was following. "If they aren't afraid of the ghosts, I'm not either," he said, determined, "let me inform the others. We should be leaving as soon as possible."
Durand knew how determined his apprentice could get, but ofttimes he was being overly headstrong and proud. Normally, he would refuse such a rash offer. No matter how many men King Aion sent, the fact remained: the Sanctum was sealed. So it would be for the best to sit back in Area 52 and observe them from afar. Recently, though, heroes from all around Altica had answered to his call and came to their village. It was about time they knew what he called them here for.
"Yes," he said quietly, "do inform them. Bring the heroes to me, Tsulong, here. I shall join you on this mission."
The Arcanine tilted his head, smirking his eyebrows and looking at him, incredulous. "But... you sure, grandpa? It's been a while... since..."
Durand let out a happy chirp. "I am old, but not weary yet. Bring them. Tonight, we will see what truly lies inside the Sanctum of the Original One."
As he walked down the hill, the darkness was quickly falling. He started running, his heart beating faster at the thought of adventure. Rangers gone missing, he told himself, that means trouble, and trouble means adventure. The last time rangers from Area 52 had gone missing, the guardians had scourged all the extent of the ruins to find them Searching all night, they were, till they found them fallen into a hole where the canal had collapsed into the sewers. The sewers were still sealed with hard stones, though, and nobody dared go excavating for fear of the dark. No ranger had dared set foot in that area ever again.
But as of late, Area 52 chanced to have the assistance of more than just rangers and guardians: the heroes Durand had summoned from all around Altica had arrived, three days ago. Of course, Durand greeted them kindly and with open... wings, usually as they were. He had even offered them to stay at the underground dormitory and allowed them full access to every building of the town, a privilege that was not normally granted to guests.
Tsulong's egg had hatched in the dormitory, twenty years ago, and his first memories were of Durand and Guardian towering above him, studying him. The Elder had almost immediately announced that he was a hero who possessed mastery over the element of fire. After his birth, the dormitory had not been used ever since - the people of Area 52 all lived in their own houses, fashioned after their type of element, and the guests were so rare and few, they would not stay more than one night.
The Arcanine stopped on a rock, standing proudly, to look down upon the village that was Area 52. It looked like a normal town built high up the mountain ranges. They were a small community, not more than thirty Pokemon, either rangers, guardians or researchers and historians. On the center, there was a square, with a statue of a Xatu, his wings open, facing the direction of Mount Aegis and the ruins. It shone dully, as it was made of steel. Tsulong knew this was not actually Durand, but his father, Quand, the founder of Area 52; Durand wore robes over his wings, anyway, and the feather on his head resembled a mohawk. Guardian would keep his silent vigil next to the statue, almost as tall as it, when Durand no longer required his assistance.
The square was almost empty at this hour. Everyone was about their business, the rangers scouting Duskwood or the Fenju ruins, the guardians spread thinly on the mountain ranges, hunting for food and battering any hostile Pokemon they came across, and the researchers were in the laboratory or the library, two of the biggest buildings in the town. There was another, lesser building at the end of the town, adorned with stone sculptures of Golurks, that was the temple, where the believers went to show their faith to Arceus - as going all the way to the ruins was not practical. Outside it, there was a well that supplied the entire town; it was blessed, as the villagers considered it a gift from Arceus.
Now I've got to find everyone? Tsulong thought, smirking his eyebrows the way he always did when a thought nagged him. He let out a powerful roar that echoed in the mountains."That should do it," he said to himself. His roar was the call. One roar, gather up. Two roars, enemies. Three roars... Arceus save us. That was the code of the rangers, and the signal for the heroes.
Toa the Blackhearted Duke
"Wha-what?!" Toa's eyes shot open. He was having the most wonderful dream, and all of a sudden, a roar had woken him from his sleep. Ugh, how annoying, he thought, what does a Pokemon have to do to get some Arceus-damn sleep around here? This wasn't the first time that the Blackhearted Duke had been awakened rather abruptly during his stay here at Area 52. What kind of name was that anyway? Area 52. Toa pushed the thought aside, and decided to concentrate on getting the source of the infernal roaring to shut his yap. Groggily, the Zoroark got out of his bed. He found that his back was as stiff as a pole. Excellent, more back pain from this ridiculous mattress, he thought sarcastically. So far, he wasn't liking this place. Two days ago, when he'd arrived, he and several other Pokemon he didn't know and didn't care to know had met a rather old Xatu. The Xatu seemed friendly, much to Toa's disdain. He didn't like him already. The old geezer had allowed them to roam the area and go wherever they wanted, but of course what Toa really wanted was to know why the he'd been called here. What was all this about heroes and saving the world? The only reason that the Duke had actually answered the call was because he had heard the word 'hero' mentioned before, when King Aion had accused him of being one, though he still wasn't entirely sure what the term meant. Perhaps it was another way of saying 'scum' or 'outlaw', but Toa doubted it. He missed his old life; the thrill and splendour of taking what was not his by right.
Toa stretched his back slightly, though it did not stop the pain entirely. Currently, he resided in a small, black hut with a stone foundation and a straw roof. All that was inside the hut was a bed. The damn thing didn't even have a floor. Luckily, the builders of this pathetic excuse for a shelter had enough decency to build windows, so Toa looked out of his own to find the source of the roar. In the distance, he could make out a quadruped Pokemon with his head held in the air. That was probably it. Toa made his way for the door, which the builders had also been considerate enough to include, and took a moment to adjust his eyes to the bright sun. Dark-types generally disliked the sun, and Toa was no exception. The only thing it was good for was keeping the planet warm. After he had gotten used to the light, he took a look around. Although the community of Area 52 was rather small, it was a bustling place. Pokemon rushed around left and right, most of them were what they called 'rangers' around here, though Toa called them imbeciles. One suddenly appeared in front of Toa, he was a moderately sized Rhyhorn who came running from the side. He rushed past Toa, and his horn slightly grazed the Duke's arm. Instinctively, Toa sent out a quick Sucker Punch, which hit the rushing Rhyhorn right in the face. His charge was stopped and he fell to the ground, dazed. "What the hell did you do that for?!" He spat. Toa, insulted that the Rhyhorn would talk to him that way, kicked him as he lay on the ground. "Don't touch me or talk to me that way, scum!" He ordered. The Rhyhorn, still confused, got back up as Toa began walking away.
Now closer to the source of the roaring, and further away from the rangers, Toa could tell that the quadruped Pokemon was an Arcanine. The Pokemon appeared to be wearing something around his neck; it shone in the sun's light. Toa angrily approached the Arcanine, realizing that he was the first one here. "Hey! What the hell do you think you're doing?" He shouted at the Pokemon angrily as he approached him. When the Duke was close enough to not have to shout, he began complaining. "I was trying to sleep, and as if I haven't been disturbed enough by this bunch of idiots," he motioned to the bustling band of rangers behind him, "now you have to go and make a ruckus. How does a Pokemon get a good night's sleep around here?" He barked angrily at the younger-looking Arcanine.
Reginard Asphos - His Chambers, Area 52
Pure white... pure white... that was all he needed to see, just a pure white wall. He could see no images... he could hear nothing going on around him... he could feel nothing around him. He was in harmony, his mind was more than clear that it usually was, but at the same time while this state of mind was rather relaxing for the Alakazam he still had to face reality... but now was not the time. Even though his doors were wide open and there were pokemon moving about and talking and causing all sorts of hub bub in the hallways he was shielded from it all. It wasn't a prison, but a happy place of sorts. He knew that various pokemon had all sorts of ways of seeing their happy place in their own minds. Some would occupy it with images of happiness, others would put in various items that their mind would make up to keep them occupied. Reginard was looking for something more in his sanctuary.
Some time ago he had first found this sanctuary and back then he would retreat here to simply relax and ease any stress his mind was going through. Now... it was for something a bit different. Yes, it served as an excellent place to restore his mental state, but at the same time it was a sort of headquarters. His memories... those that he lost to Uxie, at least he was very sure he lost them to the legendary, were still gone. He had tried to search his entire mind for the memories, but had yet to come across them. It was causing him such frustration that he had to pause in his efforts to relax. He knew those memories had to be somewhere in his mind, something that could cause just a tiny spark to allow him to remember. He didn't know why it bothered him so much, maybe it was the fear that he lost some stories in the memories that were taken. But deep down he knew it was the fear that he was a powerful psychic, yet even his own mind had been penetrated and he had probably lost precious thoughts.
The time to come out was now though, so the Alakazam began to take in deep breaths as his mind began to pull out of his sanctuary. The sounds of conversation and shouting came to his ears, and the sound of a loud roar. The Alakazam slowly opened his eyes and blinked as he heard a second roar... followed by a third. Hm... that was distressing. Slowly the psychic rose and he reached out with a hand to levitate his staff toward it and he gripped it lightly. His two spoons flew to his other hand. The psychic cracked his neck, shuddering as he the tension left his shoulders. He placed a hand to his forehead and thought about the area outside... and he was there.
Reginard slowly made his way to where he last heard the roars coming from. While he wasn't as fast as some other pokemon, especially the younger rangers, Reginard just kept his pace even though he knew there was a need for him. Patience was always an important virtue to understand. He was reminded of the Eevee that had rushed into the forest and thus had been beheaded by a Scyther when his patience had been tested. The Alakazam finally made his way to the origin of the noise to see a Zoroark yelling at an Arcanine, in fact it was Tsulong. Reginard had seen Tsulong around, most particularly when he had spent time with Durand. The two had a close bond.
"Relax dark one." He said to the Zoroark. Hm... Durand had said others had come here in the past few days. This must have been one of the other heroes... he didn't seem quite, eh, heroic though. "Early morning calls are usual around here, it helps to deter laziness and the number of barks has indicated a grave situation." He smiled at Tsulong. "What aid does Durand require of us?" He asked the Arcanine.
Faolan the Wicked- Area 52
Area 52. An odd name indeed, but Faolan made no comment. His hosts had been polite, the meals were good, his new sleeping room was adequate. In return, Faolan was the very essence of respectful courtesy, almost to a fault. At least, that was his outward opinion. Inwardly, he was slowly going insane. He had been called to this isolated... place, for whatever reason. Three days had passed. Remarkably little seemed to be happening.
Faolan almost regretted leaving his nomadic lifestyle, even for so short a time. Life of endless travel could be boring at times, but at least there was always new land to wake up to. Here... The constant company was a nice change, but something was missing. New scenery was missing and the Mienshao found conversing with all the curious members of Area 52 difficult. He had spent far too long alone with his thoughts or with obedient, respectful students. Now, spending time in proximity with so many others, others who did not necessarily hold him in high esteem... It was jarring. Strange.
The Fighting-type compensated by being as unsociable as possible, speaking only when spoken to and rarely volunteering personal information. His hours were often spent causing grievous bodily harm to innocent boulders, scoring deep lashes across the stone with the whiplike fur on his arms before he crushed the rock into shards with pure power. Breaks were taken for meditation, rest and meals.
That day, Faolan meditated, working on his powers of aura manipulation. He was seated on the edge of a sheer cliff, his tail and whiskers undulating lazily in the breeze as he concentrated. His eyes were closed, almost every muscle in his body still and calm as the warrior concentrated on his aura. He could manipulate it into a weapon with relative ease, but simply looking and analysing... That was more difficult. Even trees emitted aura, but it was a barely perceptible glow to Faolan. It was nothing compared to the vibrancy of a Pokemon. Ghost-types, too. They were alive, but not quite in the same way. They were also difficult to analyse, but Faolan would never stop trying.
A loud, ungainly roar resounded from the mountainside. Faolan's tail flickered and stilled, the Fighting Master exhaling quietly as he rose to his feet. Eyes shut briefly, the world turning black-and-blue for several moments as Fao scanned the mountainside. Yes... There it was. The origin of the call.
Faolan bent his legs at the knee and sprang, utilising his highly developed musculature and fine-tuned acrobatics to great effect as he scaled the mountain, never making a single misstep as his full control over his body became apparent. It was not for nothing that Faolan had achieved mastery in the Fighting discipline, achieved full control and total economy of movement.
It seemed like no time at all before Faolan ascended the mountain and reached where the Arcanine stood. Trained eyes flickered briefly over the assembled group, the world turning blue-black in his eyes for several seconds. A proud Arcanine, a calm Alakazam, a hostile Zoroark, a relaxed Dewott.
Faolan took little interest in what they were saying, dismissing it as petty. He would listen once things of importance were discussed. Choosing to ignore any minor squabbles, the Mienshao placed his hands behind his back and looked to the Arcanine, paying little attention to the others assembled. Meets and greets could wait for now.
"I take it that this is a meeting of some importance?" Faolan inquired mildly.
As he waited for a response, Faolan's thoughts turned to war once again. Almost immediately, he began compiling strategies on how to best defeat and aid his companions. Whichever ended up necessary, Faolan the Wicked was always determined to have the upper hand.
Arcanine, Gallade, Sharpedo, Metagross, Mienshao, Braviary. The dream team I'll never get
Pierce the Cunning Shadow - Area 52
Pierce tilted his head torwards the opening of his dwelling at the sound of an echoing roar. "So thats what they use for a wake-up call around here?", the ghost said to himself smirking. The Ghost however was indiffernt to the echoing roar, as he is a Pokemon that prefers to wake up bright and early. Though Pierce had only been a residence of Area 52 since the other day, he was starting to get used to their customs and the pokemon that lived there. Upon his arrival they propposed to provide him with a small straw hutt. Not very much satisfied, they instead provided him with a dark cave illuminated from within by fire which was suitable for a ghost type such as himself. The cave provided more appropriate living space and took the liberty of moving his bed there. The Xatu that had apperently called him here promised information about something to do with a 'Hero'. However none such information was disclosed yet, but was assured to come as the last of the other Pokemon Xatu invited arrives; of which was last night if Pierce recalls correctly.
Though the Gengar wasn't overlly concerned with that as he was given a place to wind down for a bit, something he had been longing to do for a short while. Pierce at the momment was busing himself with arranging some of the valuables and antquies he brought along with him in the cottage that was prepared for him. He carefully hung silken drapes adorned with mosiac-like patterns displaying a marvelous waterfall on the wall over his bed. He then placed the Milotic shaped ocarina(his mosted prized possision other than the gem given to him by sableye) on his nightstand. He then arranged various other items around his quarters all at once with his psychic power. Once done with that, Pierce turned to his attention to the source of the roar that seemed to be signaling to them just minutes ago. The Gengar then levitated out of his cave into the bright outside world of Area 52 towards the source of the signal. Although he disliked to be within all the action of the evryday lives of the pokemon that lived here, it was intriging to gaze upon them from a distance. The hustle and bustle of their activities resembled an army of durant in percision. It made the Gengar giddy watching all the differnt types of pokemon as he drifted outside their mass of activity.
Getting closer to his destination, Peirce grinned as he started to make out the sillouets of a small group of pokemon coming into view over a hill. Getting closer he could make out what seemed to be an Alakazam, Dewott, Zoroark, Mienshao and Arcanine; of who probobly signaled the roar. Disapearing to listen in on the conversation without interupting, he noticed that the Zoroark was apperently profusely aggitated despite the soothing words of the Alakazam. Pierce then took it upon himself to apear right in front of them. His presence projecting a slight chill in the air and causing all heads to turn towards him surprised which caused his grin to grow wider. "Good morning to you all", the ghost said, glancing at them all individually. "I take you are the one who summoned us here?", He said this looking at the Arcanine. "I hope I'm not late."
Zi-Zi's Journey - Lindsey Stirling
Cloe the Frigid Crystal : Area 52
The sun had nearly disappeared under the horizon, allowing darkness to take over. The night was silent, with the usual exception of insects chirping. Cloe sat in her temporary abode, which was generously provided by Area 52. She stared outside and into the night, lost in deep thought. Her mind was especially focused on this strange place. She heard many things about Area 52, but actually being here was a greater, more satisfying experience. Looking to the preserved ruins and artifacts reveals that this place truly is a piece of history. The amount of security is also mind boggling, and the fact that this community was built atop a steep mountain area did not help make Cloe's trip easier. An escort would have been appreciated. Even though she only recently arrived, Cloe is already greatly interested in the research being conducted here. History has always fascinated her, and is a common subject of her thoughts.
But tonight, her thoughts were not on history, but instead on Area 52; and more importantly, why she was invited here. The invitation was specified to have something to do with the Plates, she recalled. But what exactly? The Plates were sealed away by the Paragons. It wouldn't make sense to collect them just to seal them away all over again, she reasoned. Does the Elder intend to use them, or get rid of them? Cloe hopes his intention is the latter. The Plates are causing problems this world could do without... there is no point in using them now! I hope this elder knows what he's doing, she thought. The plates were sealed for a reason. The Paragons had the right ide- her thoughts were interrupted by a loud roar. It was one roar. Gather up...
Cloe rose to her feet and dashed out the door. Her sensitive ears were still ringing from that roar - the signal for the heroes to gather. Is this really a good time for a meeting? she complained to herself. Considering the time, I guess this must be pretty important. Looking around, Cloe saw no one else outside. She quickly headed in the direction of the roar, gracefully running through the night. Even in small amounts of light, her coat shone. After a while, she knew where she was headed. The roar must have come from the square, she deduced. It seemed like the most logical meeting spot, and the direction that the roar came from further supports her assumption. Cloe increased her speed. Now she was eager to meet with the other heroes, and possibly meet the Elder. Her questions begged for answers.
As she approached the square, Cloe could see that quite a few heroes were already there. Her eyes saw a Gengar, a Mienshao, a Dewott, an Alakazam, a Zoroark, and an Arcanine. No elder in sight. The roar must have come from the Arcanine, she made another assumption. Cloe approached the other heroes and joined their gathering. She glanced at all of them, but did not say a single word. Things are about to get interesting.
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"Hey! What the hell do you think you're doing?" the Zoroark called the Blackhearted Duke was approaching him, seething.
"I was trying to sleep, and as if I haven't been disturbed enough by this bunch of idiots," he gestured towards passing rangers, "now you have to go and make a ruckus. How does a Pokemon get a good night's sleep around here?"
Tsulong was left staring at him, judging, for a few seconds. Durand had told him of Toa: potential is hidden in the queerest of places, and Toa has yet to discover his own, he had said, perhaps that is why he is twisted so. Tsulong had confessed that the Zoroark's attitude disturbed him. He smiled heartily, nevertheless. "We don't get sleep. We're restless." Before he could say more, the Alakazam he was familiar with appeared. Tsulong had seen him in Area 52, long before he arrived at Durand's call; he was actually serving the town as a lorewalker.
"Relax dark one." Reginard Asphos said to the Zoroark. "Early morning calls are usual around here, it helps to deter laziness and the number of barks has indicated a grave situation." He smiled at Tsulong, who nodded, almost solemnly in agreement. "What aid does Durand require of us?"
"I will tell you once we're all here," Tsulong said and looked down the hill, into the village, searching for the rest of the heroes he had seen over the past few days. He wanted to wait till all of them had gathered up; he was in no mood of repeating the same words. His eyes where locked on Vincent the Wanderer, a Dewott with a quiet demeanor that seemed to be part of his nature. Not long after, the Mienshao of the Fight Mastery approached them.
"I take it that this is a meeting of some importance?" Faolan the Wicked asked in a mild tone, hands placed sternly behind his back.
"Yeah," Tsulong answered curtly. He was starting to feel bad for keeping all of them waiting, but some were still missing. He was about to say something about Durand, but he was interrupted.
"Good morning to you all", the Gengar named Pierce said, his grin wide, making them turn to face him. "I take you are the one who summoned us here?" He was looking at Tsulong. "I hope I'm not late."
"Elder Durand summoned you all here," Tsulong corrected him, "you just can't wait to find out why, I see. Let's get on with it then, I mislike waiting. Have any of you wondered what lies past the sealed doors of the Sanctum, atop Mount Aegis? These people here in Area 52 do wonder all the time. They've been trying to find a way to the mountain's peak for almost a full century. Anyway... Elder Durand says he knows how to get inside the Sanctum, only he requires your help." He looked over all of them. Powerful Pokemon, each of a different Elemental Mastery. Masteries were the key inside the Sanctum, Tsulong had a feeling.
"He hasn't told me how just yet, but all will become clear in time, I'm sure. There's a more urgent matter, though: two of our rangers have gone missing. Plus, hostile Pokemon have been detected intruding upon the ancient ruins of the Fenju. King's men, to hear our associates tell it. They most probably seek entrance to the Sanctum. Well, if we are to get into the Sanctum, they need to be dealt with..." his eyes traveled past all of them, quickly judging their faces. "I am understood," he announced, almost happily, with the start of a smile playing on his snout. "I'm sure none will mind some field work for a good purpose. I know I don't." He let out barking laughter.
He turned around and started walking up the hill, letting everyone keep up in a steady pace. It wasn't a long way up to the spot where Durand was standing all day and night; the Xatu hadn't moved for a long time, as his loyal Guardian would not - the massive Golurk was standing right where Tsulong left him last night. Guardian would probably be tagging along with them.
The Elder of Area 52 just stood there, with his robes over his wings licking the ground, his cape billowing in the fair breeze behind him. The days when Durand could fly were long past, so he now covered his idle wings in these plain grey robes. The sun was now rising and his back was coated in the first morning rays as he looked to the west, where Mount Aegis and the ruins below it begun to light up. The Elder seemed not to notice them, but Guardian did. He slowly turned around.
"This one greets all of the heroes," he said in his stony voice. That drew Durand's attention, who turned to face them as well.
"We must depart immediately," Durand fussed, sounding worried, "who knows what atrocities these infidels could have committed already," he mumbled.
"Heroes, get close to the Elder now," Guardian said, motioning his heavy hand for them to approach.
Durand's eyes glowing bright blue from power. As they got close to the unmoving Xatu, Tsulong felt a tingle of psychic energy run through his entire being. The Arcanine knew what was following: they were about to be mass-teleported by one of the most powerful psychic-type Pokemon on Altica. Indeed, he felt as if he was being suddenly shot up the sky, his mind came to a halt, then he felt as if he was falling. It was all over in two seconds.
The scenery had changed greatly when Tsulong next opened his eyes. He was amongst the ruins of the ancient citadel of the Fenju. The Metropolis. He hadn't been here in quite some time, but sadly, there was nothing he missed about these ruins. All around him lay shattered stones that were once buildings, marble streets that were cracked with fissures, columns and statues that once stood proud had now fallen; everything seemed as if it had been hit by a tidal wave and an earthquake at the same time, while at some points the rocks were as black as coal, likely hit by thunder. It was miserable to behold. Everything was so grey, and the rising sun only made it a tone lighter. Today, the breeze brought a queer feeling that Tsulong didn't like. He felt the presence of the intruders, spread thinly on the extent of the citadel.
"This was once the proud citadel of the Fenju," Tsulong heard the Xatu say, "you have never quite been in such a place before, have you? I understand this is your first time here... you may have heard ominous rumors about these ruins," he told everyone. "But fear not, for this place is no home to danger for us. The only danger is the intruders." Durand scowled, then confessed, "Tsulong might have told you of our purpose here... it is to get within the Sanctum," he looked up at the spear-like mountain. Its top was blocked by a passing cloud, but Tsulong knew what was there: the resting place of Arceus, the Sanctum of the Original One. "But, we cannot risk opening its gates while these infidels run around - they might follow us inside, for all we know!"
"Let's just get on with it, grandpa," Tsulong said rather impatiently, scanning the ruins forward for possible enemies.
"The King's men are spread thinly, this one observes," Guardian said, "if the heroes split, this could go much faster."
Faolan the Wicked- Area 52, Fenju
Alakazam would be difficult. Almost certainly knows Psychic, most likely Teleport. Difficult to catch. Fast. Fragile. My own capability to take hits isn't much better. Winner would depend on who strikes fastest. Despite type disadvantage, Aura Sphere to distract, and a strong U-Turn might be enough to win. Detect to avoid Psychic.
Arcanine. Fast, strong. Four legs- less maneuverability in close combat. Knows Flamethrower and Extremespeed, probably Fire Blast. Strategy- get in close, attack relentlessly.
Zoroark. Analyse aura to see through illusions. With strongest ability nullified, victory is likely. Not enough is known to guess which techniques he knows. Most likely the majority are Dark.
Dewott. Quiet. Calm. Most likely dangerous. Stronger in close combat, not stronger than me. Victory most likely. Likely knows Razor Shell, Water Gun, Surf.
The Mienshao didn't even look at the ghostly Gengar. He could see the ghost-type's aura and refused to give him the attention he so clearly wanted. There was also, of course, the fact that Faolan did not like Ghosts. They relied on trickery and misdirection and were often full of ego.
Then a Glaceon. A quiet Glaceon, one who drew little attention to herself.
Gengar's Ghost and Poison type- problematic. Drain Punch useless, Aura Sphere useful as distraction. Use aura to counter invisibility, illusions, hypnosis and intangibility. Ghost, Poison and Dark moves would be less useful against me. Most likely knows Shadow Ball, Hypnosis, Toxic.
Glaceon. Ice-Type means a likely victory for me. Quiet, a watcher- most likely intelligent, but does not flaunt it. Most likely knows Ice Beam and Blizzard.
Interesting indeed. Such a motley group they made. The question remained, however, what exactly they were doing here?
Thankfully, the Arcanine was quick enough to answer the question. After a fashion. As in the group were simply told what this mysterious Elder Durand wanted, rather than why. To get to a Sanctum and take care of some King's men while they were at it. This did not bode well for Faolan, but he chose not to comment on it just yet. His questions would be better reserved for this Elder Durand himself, rather than one his followers or aides.
A Xatu, eh? With a lumbering Golurk as a bodyguard. Interesting indeed. With the intent to teleport them to the Sanctum immediately. Faolan held no objection, but events were moving too quickly for his liking. At least the teleportation was swift and painless.
Fenju. The ruined city. Faolan glanced over it, his expression carefully blank before he turned to regard the Xatu once again. A more in-depth examination could be made once his questions were answered.
"It would most likely be best to go in pairs, then. Paired by type, to be safest, but I do not wish t be slowed down. Regardless.." Faolan let his hands hang by his sides as he gazed at the Xatu.
"You have told us that you wish to enter this Sanctum," the Mienshao pointed out calmly. "But you still have not told us why. I wish to know before I harm another on your behalf."
If this Elder thought that he could issue orders to one of the most powerful Fighting-types to ever live, he had another thing coming. Faolan the Wicked took no orders without good reason, particularly when those orders involved violence.
Arcanine, Gallade, Sharpedo, Metagross, Mienshao, Braviary. The dream team I'll never get
"It would most likely be best to go in pairs, then. Paired by type, to be safest, but I do not wish t be slowed down. Regardless.." the Mienshao had fixed his gaze on him.
"You have told us that you wish to enter this Sanctum," the Mienshao pointed out calmly. "But you still have not told us why. I wish to know before I harm another on your behalf."
He closed his eyes in distress, trying to calm his mind down. They will not see... but it is best the truth remains hidden for the present. "You do believe in Arceus, child, do you not?" he said slowly, sternly, choosing his words with care. "The Faithful themselves entered the Sanctum, to show their faith to Him, would you not do the same? Ah, but it is not just that... the Original One is sealed within, with the eight Plates the Paragons left for him. The others they carried away, to hide them across the world. Half the Plates in existence remain at the top of that mountain," Durand explained wearily. "Half of our God's power."
"What do you imagine will happen if King Aion managed to steal them?" Tsulong finished for Durand, looking at Faolan. "He lusts for power, and more power... bet he'd try to control them. We're heroes," he reminded them, "our duty is to protect the Plates, or else ensure that they are not used. What kind of heroes would stay idle when the mad King has openly started a hunt for the Plates?"
"No heroes," Guardian declared, crossing his thick-as-tree-trunks arms. "This one has witnessed the cruelty of King Aion, and will not allow him to walk these ruins as he likes."
Tsulong nodded. "Like Faolan here said, it's best we do this in pairs. Who's with me?"
Durand smiled wanly, looking over to the Alakazam Reginard. "I think I will enjoy the company of my old friend," he said. "Tag along with me, Reginard."
[OOC: you guys can make joint posts if you'd like. Double's the fun when you're two.]
Pierce The Cunning Shadow - Fenju
The sudden turn of events took the Gengar by surprise, which doesn't happen often. His wide mischievous smile was replaced with a thoughtful look, as he pondered about their situation. Looking around the solemn ruins of Fenju, one would never at first believe that anything of significance could be found here among this disaster area. However that was obviously not the case. If the situation weren't so dire, the Ghost would've loved to rummage around the depressing citadel to observe and analyse the fallen stones. Artifacts and inscriptions could possibly lie within the remains. The very idea of finding treasure excited Pierce and shuffled his feet anxiously, but he remembered to dismiss these thoughts...for now.
He then turned his attention to Xatu, the one who used powerful psychic powers to bring them here. Durand was it? Anyway, although he did brief them of their goal, information, and assignment he wasn't sure if the old Pokemon could adequately defend himself. Well that's probably what the Golurk is for, he thought to himself. The Gengar's inquisitive thoughts were about to drift off again until Mienshao started to speak.
"It would most likely be best to go in pairs, then. Paired by type, to be safest, but I do not wish to be slowed down. Regardless.." The Mienshao set his gaze upon Durand.
"You have told us that you wish to enter this Sanctum," the Mienshao pointed out calmly. "But you still have not told us why. I wish to know before I harm another on your behalf."
The idea of a partner made Pierce's mischievous grin return. Durand promptly gave a brief explanation in response to the question. The Xatu then offered partnership with the Alakazam. Then the Dewott and Arcanine allied themselves. The ghost immediately started to ponder about which of the other heroes would best suit partnership with himself. Hmmm...The most promising of the bunch left seems to be either the Zoroark or the Mienshao. Pierce analysed that when paired with either one, they formed synergy in typing to cover each other, not to mention they both seem capable as fighters just by observing their demeanor. He could imagine the Zoroark being rather amusing to tag along with, and neither of them are weak to the same type. However, the Mienshao looks rather imposing and he could learn a thing or two from him. However should they meet an enemy psychic, that would be slightly troublesome....decisions, decisions...., Pierce thought tapping his foot.
Zi-Zi's Journey - Lindsey Stirling
Cloe the Frigid Crystal : Area 52 --> Fenju Ruins
The moments that followed were almost a blur to Cloe. The group started leaving the square almost as quickly as she had arrived. Our first objective is to enter the Sanctum, Cloe recalled what the Arcanine said just seconds ago. Not surprised there. But our second objective is still unclear. What happens after we accomplish our first task? She let out a sigh, trying to clear her thoughts. There were so many of them, it was as if they were a storm, ready to be unleashed. One storm led to a new one, each question giving birth to another. It was an endless cycle. As they trotted up the hill, Cloe swung her tail slowly, back and forth, mimicking the movement of a grandfather clock's pendulum. She often did this when she needed to relax or calm down. It brought her back to the real world, and reminded her that the crystal on her tail was still there. That gave her comfort, being the only the only thing left of her parents (aside from the other crystals she wore, but she felt those ones all the time).
The heroes reached the top of the hill where the Elder was positioned, almost like a statue, waiting for them. Standing tall by his side was a large, built Golurk. That must be the elder! Cloe was suddenly back into think-mode. Cloe was about to let her queries escape through her mouth, but she was halted by the Elder's psychic powers. She braced herself for what was to come, expecting a somewhat noxious feeling to follow the teleportation. To her surprise, it was painless and very smooth, apart from the blinding light that was released by the Elder's eyes. A greater surprise, however, came from the result of the teleportation.
After the light cleared, all Cloe saw was ruins. Aside from the group, there were no living organisms in sight. The Elder started speaking and Cloe listened closely. Hmm...
The Elder finished and the Mienshao began. Cloe was intrigued by this pokemon. He thought like she did. Yes, exactly... what are your plans, Elder? The Elder's answer did not satisfy Cloe. In fact, it slightly annoyed her. When everyone finished talking, Cloe spoke up.
"Elder, if I may ask," she started, catching Durand before he went off with Reginard. "From what I have heard so far, I understand that we are to enter the Sanctum and retrieve the eight Plates that lie within before King Aion does. But is that really necessary?" Cloe paused and let the question hang. "If even you, one of the Elders of Area 52, cannot enter the Sanctum without our help, then how will King Aion gain access? I realize that he can also gather heroes to assist, but considering his reputation, what kind of hero would dare join him? I suspect that the King will not be able to enter the Sanctum and removing the Plates from their resting place is pointless," Cloe looked in the direction of Mount Aegis. "Not only that, but this act goes against the Paragons and what they have done for us," she thought about Regigigas. "I would like to suggest, if I may," she said, trying to be respectful, "that we search for the seven Plates that are still scattered about. They are a more likely target for the King and there is a possibility that he knows their whereabouts, considering he somehow managed to find the Dark Plate." Cloe finished, "if you are still concerned about the Sanctum being infiltrated, leaving guards here should suffice, no?"
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Toa the Blackhearted Duke
When the Alakazam appeared and made his remark, Toa flared. How dare he tell him to calm down?! He was ready to kill the lot of them right then and there, but luckily for the other heroes, saner heads prevailed. Toa reasoned with himself that if he killed them, he would have made this journey for nothing, and what a waste of time that would've been. Instead, he turned to the Psychic and let him off with a simple warning. "Don't order me around if you know what's good for you, old man," he snapped, and turned his attention back to the annoying Arcanine. His smile seemed somewhat forced. "We don't get sleep. We're restless," he said. Toa scowled. "Well, I do get sleep, so don't interfere with it again." The Zoroark glanced around at the other heroes who began appearing one after the other, and although they looked strong, they were most likely nothing compared to him. When the Ghost appeared, Toa couldn't help but snicker slightly. He found it amusing that the Gengar actually thought he was worth his attention. The Mienshao caught Toa slightly off-guard though, especially when he noticed him eyeing all the others, most likely analysing them. Who did this Pokemon think he was? Despite the type disadvantage, Toa made a mental note to teach him a lesson at some point in the future. He paid no mind to the rest of the so-called heroes, and listened to the Arcanine, Tsulong, explain the situation. Apparently, two of these insignificant little rangers had gone missing at some point, and the elder needed the heroes to find them. Why couldn't they just send more rangers? Toa became upset that he had travelled all this way to rescue a pair of weaklings. The thought made him angry, but he restrained the anger. While this was out of character for him, it wasn't like he had anywhere else to go, and he knew that, even if he wouldn't admit it. What really caught his attention was the mention of the king's men. The elder wanted him and the others to kill them? That wouldn't work; not in the position that Toa was in. He'd only be drawing attention to himself by killing them. No doubt one of the king's men would escape his frenzy and report back to Aion, thereby revealing his location. It wouldn't be long before the king would send an entire platoon to overpower Toa, and drag him back to Cyala for his long-awaited execution. Under normal circumstances he would have walked away right then and there, but as much as he hated to admit it, even to himself, he had nowhere to go.
Reluctantly, Toa moved along with the rest of the Pokemon, deciding that he would leave if this 'elder' Durant did not appeal to him. The Pokemon watching the rising sun, alongside an unmoving Golurk of massive size. Toa sighed from boredom, as the elder didn't seem to be doing much. He found it hard to believe that these idiotic Pokemon had built a statue to honour this old bird. The Golurk noticed them and turned to face them, speaking in an almost monotone voice to catch the absent-minded elder's attention. The elder didn't even greet Toa or any of the heroes, which he found rather disrespectful, especially since he couldn't do what he intended without them. When the Golurk encouraged all the others to come closer to the elder, Toa did not move. He was close enough already. However, he felt a strange sensation for a moment. He'd felt this sensation before, when his tutor had demonstrated the power of teleportation during one of his lessons. He was about to be mass-teleported, along with the other heroes. Before he could object, the distantly familiar feeling of being thrust up into the sky and then falling overtook him, before he found himself at his destination.
Toa took a look around. He'd only ever been to Fenju once, and that was when his father had shown him what would happen to those who opposed Cyala's rule. The ruins looked no different than they had during that trip, with stones still scattered everywhere, and what were once buildings no reduced to mounds of rubble. The marble at his feet was both cracked and singed, and what were once statues of important Pokemon were now deformed corpses of what they once were. Not even wild Pidgey dared to soar over this city for fear of... well, Toa didn't exactly know what they feared. He listened as Durant began speaking once more, explaining that they had to kill the king's men before they could enter the Sanctum. Not only was killing king's soldiers not exactly Toa's intent, but the fact that they were going to break into the Sanctum also bothered him. These fools are crazy, he thought to himself, they might kill us all by disturbing Arceus's peace. He understood their reasons for doing these things, he just didn't want to be a part of this. He was no hero, if anything he was the exact opposite. If anyone was to keep the plates from falling into King Aion's hands, it would not be him. He thought on these things for a moment, while the others conversed pointlessly.
Even Toa knew that if the plates got into Aion's hands, it would spell a new reign of terror for Altica, but he didn't care about that. Altica could suffer all it wanted, he only cared about himself. If he was still by the King's side, this would have in fact been advantageous, since Cyala would become to most powerful force in all the land. However, the tables had turned. Toa was now an enemy of Cyala, which meant that if Aion got his hands on godly powers, Toa himself would be made to suffer along with the rest of Altica. Disadvantageous indeed. After thinking of these things, he finally reached a decision. Returning himself to the physical world, he realized that two heroes had already set off to explore, but the elder still stood, waiting for that disrespectful old Alakazam to pair up with him. "Alright, old man, I've reached a decision. I shall aid you in your quest, but do not fool yourself into thinking that I do this for you, or for anyone else. This is for me," he hissed. He then turned to the other heroes. "Therefore, I expect to be treated with the utmost respect while I assist you all. You are lucky I'm taking the time to do this."
After he had finished, Toa glanced at the remaining heroes. He needed to pick a partner to scour the landscape with. This was a problem because he needed someone who would both obey him, and compliment his typing. The ideal choice seemed to be the Gengar, though Toa wasn't sure if he could trust the Ghost. Still, if he turned on him, the Zoroark could easily defeat him. So, he walked up to the Gengar. "You shall accompany me while we search for the king's men, Gengar. You will do as I say, and you will not disappoint me. Understood?" He ordered. Before waiting for a response, he said "Good, let us go." Without waiting for the Gengar, he walked off in the opposite direction Tsulong had gone.
Durand and Reginard
As the group was ported away Reginard could feel the distance they traveled. He saw the ruins appear before them and the monotony of questions that were asked. Of course the others wouldn't understand what was happening or why this was happening to them. If only the other heroes had actually been a part of Area 52, then there would be less questions and more action to do what was necessary. Of course nothing ever went according to plan, a pity as he thought about it. These... heroes, surely didn't seem that heroic like. They seemed to be more prone to yelling, demanding answers, as well as just having an uncaring attitude. A pity that the masteries didn't go to more talented individuals, but if they worked hard enough he was sure that the others could at least strive to become the heroes that were needed in this day and age.
Reginard waited patiently as Durand and Tsulong explained what they all should be doing and the idea of pairing off. It made sense to the Alakazam, with more groups they could take more ground and be able to find the scouts more easily. As Tsulong asked for his aide he of course made his way to the Xatu, "Of course. This shouldn't take too long." He said as he began to head off to lead the way.
Before Durand could take off, he was confronted by the Glaceon that looked rather too serious.
"Young one," he said, not being able to recall her name, to his shame. "I commend your observational spirit. But we are to protect the Plates, never retrieve them. I reckon the hidden passage to the Sanctum is not the only way in; the gates are sealed, true but there may be a way to break through. The King's men are ruthless. If the King wants something, they will get it done. The Sanctum may not be as safe as we think, after all. As for the rest of the Plates... we must needs focus our attention on the King's actions for the present, for that is all we can do."
Durand turned and looked at the Alakazam's back, his tube full of books moving slightly as he walked. He then glanced at Guardian, who was standing next to him. "Guardian, go by yourself. Remove these infidels from our Metropolis!"
The gentle giant kneeled. "This one is concerned of your safety, Elder," he confessed.
"My safety is guaranteed with Reginard," Durand replied with a wan smile. "Go, Guardian."
The Xatu headed off, his robes licking the ground behind him as he went. He could feel the lost power the ruins around him held. Reginard should be feeling it too. He scrutinized the Alakazam, his eyes half shut. Reginard was born in Area 52 - he knew him ever since he was a little Abra, escaping his parents to go on adventures on his own, before he left the town for good. Smiling, he said, "It has been a while, Reginard, a pity you did not have the chance to visit us more often. How are you faring?"
Reginard smiled at the question, "I am quite well Durand. I have been around, I brought some more tales I have yet to impart to the archives. Once we are finished here I will be able to do that. Apart from that, not much has happened in my travels. Though... Durand, may I impart a worry I have been thinking about lately?" He asked. "It is something that does cause a bit of worry in my soul, and I am hoping you may have advice to ease my troubles."
The Elder smiled invitingly. "Of course, feel free to share your burden with me."
The Alakazam looked down, and seemed to be rather... embarrassed. "Well... this is rather humbling for me Durand. It's... well, it's very confusing in a way as well. During my travels I had made my way to the wilderness, and usually during my stays by myself I could put up a psychic defense to detect intruders. I... I must have miscalculated. When I awoke later, I realized that several days had passed. I... I wasn't sure what I was doing during that time. I still had all of my possessions, but my memories during that time were gone, some other memories of my childhood were gone as well. I-I think I must have come upon Uxie during the that time and my memories were stolen by him. Huh, imagine that, a psychic destined to be a hero losing his own memories. What I mean to ask is, if there is any way to recover my missing memories?"
Durand shifted his beak, looking skywards, pondering on his apprentice's troubles. "There are lots of causes for a memory loss. The conclusion you have come to, that Uxie has stolen your memories, may be related to it - Uxie can remove himself from your memories, but not from your subconscious." The Xatu now looked at the Alakazam questioningly. "Whatever the case, it seems to me that an accident occurred to you. But it has nothing to do with your physique, I fear." He sensed Reginard's well being was absolutely untouched. The issue comes from the mind. What kind of force could penetrate a psychic-type's mind defenses? he mused to himself, then conceded. "We can only make assumptions at this point, but when this madness is over, I promise I will look into the matter more thoroughly..."
They walked in silence through a grass patch that was once a majestic garden of a palace. This part of the Metropolis was where the aristocrats lived, no doubt. Durand had learned a few things from his father, who was a little child when the Seal took place. The Fenju aristocrats had personal Golurk guards; indeed, he spotted a few of the Golems, fallen broken against the palace's walls... all that was left from the proud building was an idea of it, the rest was rubble.
Reginard paused suddenly, "Hold Durand. Something is amiss here... I sense-" He couldn't finish his sentence before a Shadow Ball flew right past him and hit the wall behind him.
"Quick behind me Durand!" He exclaimed as he reached out to feel some lifeforms nearby, "We have some enemies." He muttered as his eyes glowed a light blue and he readed his staff just as a Haunter moved out from behind his cover. The Alakazam sent out a powerful Psychic at the ghost, completely annihilating him. "Just stay behind me Durand." He said as he could feel two other lifeforms coming at them, "I sense... two more coming."
Just as he said that some flames came at them by the side searing Reginard's right leg. He grunted and looked to see a Houndoom there, "Hehe, so I take it you can't see my mind huh?" The dog sneered as he lept at Reginard and bit down on his leg, The Alakazam initially cried out in pain as he fell onto his back and narrowed his eyes as he let loose a Mircale Eye on the hound.
Durand had grown slow over the years, and he found himself at a loss when thinking of how to counter a dark-type like a Houndoom. Before he could do anything, Reginard raised an arm at the now vulnerable Houndoom and slammed a Psychic into his face to tear him off and quickly followed with a Recover to heal his wound. "This is quite troublesome." He stated as he rose back up, ready to fight against these intruders.
Faolan the Wicked- Fenju
Faolan was already analysing the others the instant he suggested partners. The Golurk was a possibility- evidently he had great strength, but was simply too slow to keep up with the Mienshao. The Glaceon? They covered some of each others' weaknesses, but Ice-types were seldom as swift as he. Nor did she make much of an impression on him. The Gengar was another good choice- despite being a Ghost, he seemed amiable enough, and only a Psychic would have the upper hand against them. Even then, a Ghost could be equally dangerous to a Psychic. The Zoroark? Not a chance in oblivion. He was arrogant, impertinent, loud and full of self-importance. Faolan would probably kill him before they encountered any of the King's men.
The Alakazam? A definite possibility, but the Xatu was quick to appropriate him. Placing two Psychics together did not seem wise, but both of them already knew that. The Dewott? A solid choice, no clear advantages or disadvantages. Arcanine? Another even-ended bargain, with the added bonus of the Arcanine's speed. Yet the Water and Fire types were quick to side with one another.
That left the Glaceon, the Gengar, the Golurk and the Zoroark. Yet then the Zoroark was quick to assume commander of the Ghost, though not without satisfying his ego. That settled it, then. The Golurk and Glaceon could go together. A Guardian's power was most likely not equal to a supposed hero.
Before he left, Faolan spoke to the Zoroark's back.
"You are arrogant, impertinent," he stated quietly. "And... inconsequential."
That was bound to sting.
The Fighting-type turned to gaze at the Gengar.
"Good luck." He would need it, unless he had the patience of Dialga. A swift nod and Faolan was gone, an Acrobatics allowing him to vault into a back handspring and leap through the hole in a building where a window had once been. He ran with speed and surety, never once making a misstep. Not even in this vastly unfamiliar environment would Faolan the Wicked, the Fighting-type Master, be in anything less than perfect control of his movements.
With swiftness, he ascended the ruin until he reached the roof. The Aura-user could search with much more than just his eyes, after all. Faolan stood at the edge of the roof, brought his hands together as if in prayer, closed his eyes and turned the world blue-black as he searched for the auras of King's men.
Arcanine, Gallade, Sharpedo, Metagross, Mienshao, Braviary. The dream team I'll never get
Roscoe the Leech
The sun was warm this morning. Then again, it was often warm in the morning anyway, unless it rose in a cold place or during a cold season. Roscoe was stretched out flat atop one of the buildings surrounding the square, eyes closed and back turned to the sunlight. Since arriving in Area 52 two days or so ago, the Sceptile had enjoyed the time spent resting. He had taken it easy, not doing much more than exploring the small community and taking in the sun.
Somewhat surprising, after the constant traveling and working, but what Roscoe found more surprising was that he'd restrained himself completely for the past few days. The urge was still there, but it didn't itch so much at the moment. Not sure if it's 'cause I haven't seen much of anyone interesting enough, or if it's from a desire to be a courteous guest.
His thoughts were interrupted as a powerful roar echoed through the area. Or maybe I haven't had an excuse 'til now. One yellow eye opened in irritation; Roscoe was already a few minutes into his nap. No use tryin' to finish it now. He opened his other eye and pushed himself up, stretching briefly before turning his gaze to the square. Other than a few others who'd seemed somewhat out of place like him, Roscoe hadn't seen any other guests in the time he'd been here. He doubted anyone could stay long without either being kicked out or being recruited to do something.
Wait, didn't they say that th' roar was the signal? One, to gather up. Eh, they can wait a little longer. Wouldn't start without all us 'heroes', would they? Roscoe took another few minutes to sit with his back to the sun, his tongue flicking out. He noticed a few of the other heroes (whatever that meant) go through the square and head for the mountainside. One in particular was slower, as if the Alakazam, was it?, was in no hurry. Hm. He'd probably be movin' faster if he was a youngling or hothead.
After a few more minutes than intended - he found himself almost nodding off again - Roscoe pushed himself to his feet. It didn't take long for Roscoe to climb down the side of the building and enter the square. As if on cue, a Natu fluttered down from the sky and landed near the base of the statue. "There you are!" he exclaimed, panting slightly. "Didn't you hear Tsulong's roar?"
Tsulong?...Oh, yes, that Arcanine. Roscoe shrugged. "If that was th' one from a bit ago, then yeah. What about it?"
The Natu cocked his head, or his body, rather. "Well, you're late, mister! The other heroes have already gone up the mountainside to see Master Durand! Hurry up!" With that, the little bird took flight again, presumably to lead Roscoe.
They left without me? Roscoe could have kicked himself, but that wouldn't accomplish anything. The Sceptile began following the Natu, out of the square and up the mountainside. Personally, he didn't like this kind of climbing so much as moving through a forest, but apparently it wasn't so difficult that none of the others couldn't get up.
Either way, it wasn't long before Roscoe stood on the hill, looking around at the empty area with a questioning gaze. "Um, where are th' others?" he asked, his yellow eyes turning back to the Natu.
"Gone, now," the bird replied, gazing at nothing in particular. A few moments of silence passed, after which Roscoe opened his mouth. "They're in the ruins," the Natu said abruptly, suddenly looking a bit apprehensive. "Aw, man, why'd you have to go and not answer the call?"
"So?" Roscoe retorted, his tongue flicking out briefly. "Is it so late that I can't go there myself, or somethin'?" I wonder what this bird's energy is like.
"They teleported, that's what!" the Natu answered, fluttering over to land on Roscoe's head. "Hold on." Without further warning, he closed his eyes and concentrated, teleporting the two of them to the ruins.
The next moment Roscoe's mind registered, he found himself lying flat on the ground with a dull headache. "That..." He shook his head and pushed himself up with one arm. "That was not smooth."
"Um." The Natu was perched nearby, his body shuddering once as he looked away. "I, uh, need to work on it."
"Ya could've warned me 'bout that," Roscoe replied, blinking to clear his vision as he stood up and brushed himself off. "I would definitely suggest doin' it better, okay?" Before he could decide whether to leech, the Natu wordlessly took wing and flew away from the area. What's the hurry-- Oh. Roscoe had just registered the ruins around him for the first time.
The Fenju Ruins. Considering its reputation, the sun didn't feel so warm anymore.
Cloe the Frigid Crystal : Fenju Ruins
"Fine," Cloe mumbled softly. She was not very satisfied with the Xatu's response, apart from receiving confirmation that the Plates were not to be collected, only protected. "Well then, I'll be off," she announced. She was not interested in going with another pokemon; of the remaining choices, none of them caught her attention.
Gracefully, she turned and headed off in a direction opposite of the other heroes. Her eyes and ears were alert, watching or listening for the King's men. Beginning with a slow trot, Cloe gradually and cautiously increased her acceleration. Next she was jogging, then running, and finally she was dashing at full speed, occasionally leaping over fallen pillars and other obstacles. Where are all the enemies? Cloe thought, wondering why she had not attracted any attention as of yet. She slowed down and came to a halt. "Hmm, how boring," she was talking aloud to herself, in hopes of bringing out the King's minions. "I was hoping to quickly find some enemies," Cloe sighed of tedium.
After about a minute of silence, she commenced her search. The arctic fox-like creature moved at a medium pace, stopping every now and then to check her surroundings. "Huh?" Cloe stopped after she heard a subtle noise; something that sounded like the shifting of stone. Her eyes narrowed and explored the ruined earth. It was probably just a small rock, she concluded, after finding nothing out of the ordinary. Convinced, her feet began moving again. "How unfortunate."
She spoke too soon. Almost out of nowhere, a strong, stony arm extended from below and grabbed Cloe by the leg. "What?!"
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As Tsulong lept forwards and up onto the pillar, Vince turned around to look behind them while he continued walking backwards, making sure nothing was following them. Aside from the two of them, everything was eerily quiet. Then he heard his companion call out, and he turned around again, seeing him hopping into the empty canals.
Hurrying a little along, he jumped up onto a few piles of rubble to peer down at Tsulong standing over something that he couldn't quite make out. He hopped down and slid along a pile of rubble before coming to a halt at the bottom of it, stepping up aside the feline, looking down at the bones with raised brows. He opened his mouth, just about to say something when he noticed the look in Tsulong's eyes and he went quiet again, if only for a few moments.
"... I'm guessing this is the scout." He commented, looking at the bones and clearly not having noticed the black stain, or at least given it any attention. "Someone you knew?" He asked out, a much quieter, respectful tone.
"I knew them, alright," Tsulong replied. He was almost the same age with Seth, the Meowth. When they were children, they were playing in the training yard of Area 52, training and pretending to be heroes and claiming they did imaginary feats. Seth would always hit the dummies with every different type of attack he could come up with, trying to find out that he was adapt at using a certain type... he wanted to be a hero, Tsulong thought, placing his paw on the feline skull head. "What monster could've done this to him?" he wondered out loud. The ranger had gone missing for a day, yet all that was left of him was bones. Flesh did not rot so quickly. Could the ghosts of the citadel be responsible for this? He cringed.
The area was starting to get hot as the sun beat the stone relentlessly. When he looked up, the light hit him directly on the face, blinding him. But he could still hear and smell. And he heard and smelled enemies. From the street, he could hear unfamiliar voices. One was saying, "see, I told you they'd come." It was a Houndoom, Tsulong knew then. He saw them, a Houndoom and a Luxray, standing on the edge of the canal, above them.
"Look here," the Luxray exclaimed, "if it isn't Ser Tsulong, our infamous Outrider!"
Tsulong screwed up his face and stared at him. They recognize me. It's the Crimson Company, he reflected, watching the mercenaries with profound anger. He was once a knight, sworn to his liege lord, King Aion, before he fled for Area 52. And he was an Outrider in the ranks of the Crimson Company, the very group that invaded the ruins to defile them.
Vincent glanced from the mercenaries to Tsulong, having noticed their foes around the same time Tsulong had, his hands having slipped to the shells hanging at his hips and had watched them calmly and cautiously from Tsulong's right side, supposedly unseen by them, or at least ignored. He noticed how Tsulong's paws were digging into the ground, and it wasn't hard to figure out why he seemed so angry.
"You're a knight, aren't you?" the Houndoom said, not politely. "Come with us. You've pledged an oath to serve the King, and you have a contract with the Company."
Tsulong's anger was building up. He glanced at Vince, wondering if he was as good a fighter as the rumors told it. "Knights also pledge to protect the weak and the innocent," Tsulong snarled, knowing that every knight pledged to the King was ****ting on those vows. He was no exception. During the times of war, they were the first ones to kill the smallfolk. "Might be they need to swear to hurt them instead, as to make them more true."
The mercenaries found the notion amusing; they glanced at each other, ready to laugh. Then, the Houndoom looked at the bones at Tsulong's feet. "Whatever happened to your little friend?" he asked, grinning menacingly.
"He..." Tsulong started, smirking his eyebrows in suspicion.
"He was eaten by crows," the Luxray said suddenly. "Oh yeah, we know. We saw and we laughed."
The final comment from the Luxray made Vincent's eyes narrow slightly. He had imagined they would have had something to do with it even before he'd said anything, but he knew that if he stood idly by, Tsulong would rush headlong in and try to take the both of them on. So obviously, something had to be done beforehand.
He raised a hand to press it against Tsulong's side, as if to calm him down, or assure him that he was still there, before running forwards, underneath Tsulong. He raised the hand not holding one of his shells into the air and lept into the air in a spin. Seemingly from out of the dried-out ground beneath, a beam of water, just slightly thicker than Vincent himself shot out, enveloping the Dewott and propelling him upwards, towards the now rather stunned pair of thugs.
The Houndoom only managed to open his mouth to yell something to his comrade before Vincent was straight in front of him, clutching the razorshell as he spun around within the water, slicing the shell down diagonally, the water dispersing from the action as the shell cut square down across the Houndoom's chest, the remainder of the water slamming into him and propelling him backwards, Vincent landing square on his feet, his eyes set on the dog.
Tsulong didn't waste any time watching Vince aqua jet forward. Pouncing up to the street with blinding speed, his eyes crossed those of the Luxray, who was charging his fur as if to shoot a thunder at the Dewott. Tsulong shot a trail of blazing hot flames that forced him to back off to avoid them. Under the cover of his own flames, the Arcanine shot himself forward in another extremespeed technique, roaring in wordless fury as he collided with the Luxray. The impact blew his opponent back, but he quickly regained his balance and grinned at him. "Let's see how fast you truly are, Outrider," he said, his fur bristling with electricity and his mean yellow eyes flashing with power. As he charged into the ruins, Tsulong went after him, chasing to kill.
"You little...!" The Houndoom swore to himself as he got to all four again, growling deeply as he glared at the Dewott calmly returning the narrow-eyed gaze. His scarf was now hanging down along his back, soaked wet from the previous attack, but he didn't seem to mind much, unclasping the other shell from its strap.
"You're outmatched, you know. Your friend is busy and I've got the advantage here, even if I weren't a water-type."
The Houndoom grit his teeth, digging his paws into the ground before dashing off to the side and then leaping towards the Dewott, readying a Bite attack. Vincent pushed his right arm forwards and raised it up, a small puddle of water collecting itself on the broken pavement. The Houndoom was just about to simply run over it as Vincent aimed his right shell at the water, shooting an beam of icy-white at it, causing it and two of the canine's paws to freeze solid. Stopped dead in his tracks, the Houndoom blinked, only a few metres from Vincent, which he closed in in three swift steps, delivering another two slices of his shells across his muzzle and his chest, making him howl out in pain.
Toa the Blackhearted Duke & Pierce the Cunning Shadow
...Arrogant? ...Impertinent? ...INCONSEQUENTIAL?!
As soon as Toa heard these words, he turned and swiped his claws at where the Mienshao had originally stood in one swift motion. He found that he had attacked thin air, the arrogant little imbecile who had stood there had gone as quickly as he had arrived. Toa thought that at least he was smart enough for that; if he had stayed, he would surely have been ripped to shreds. The Zoroark turned his head from left to right frantically, searching for any sign of the snivelling scoundrel who dared utter those words. Toa would be very satisfied when he would sink his claws into the flesh of this supposed hero. Realizing that the Mienshao was no longer in sight, Toa regained his form and calmed himself, his breathing becoming more controlled. He growled once more, before saying to his companion, "Hmph, insolent fool. It is he who is inconsequential, as he will soon learn." Toa said this partially to Pierce and partially to himself, as a means to calm himself down. It seemed that, no matter how insolent this band of idiots seemed to become, there was always something keeping Toa from elevating his anger level to the point of no return. Still, when he had the chance, he would gladly kill the Mienshao before departing from this place.
Pierce looked on at his enraged partner with a blank expression yet in concealed amusement. The Zoroark rudely insisted on leading him but cant keep his head whenever he spoken to? The very idea almost made him chuckle out loud. Alas no matter how much of a hothead the oddly colored dark type may be, Pierce was going to establish himself as a capable pokemon who should not be talked down to like an incompetent subordinate. However he'd have to be crafty with his timing and words. The last thing he'd want would be tension between them in the middle of a mission, although the ghost was fairly confident he could handle the Zoroark with his variety of skills. After they had separated from the group, Pierce then hovered a few feet in front of the Zoroark which in tern received him a nasty glare. Before the Zoroark could utter a word, Pierce started to speak.
"Well, before we go any further, I think it would be proper to introduce ourselves since we haven't had a single opportunity to due so in all this confusion. My name is Pierce, pleased to meet you. Anyway, in regards to your earlier comment, you said you wish for the utmost respect. By all means you shall receive it. I can tell you are very a powerful individual. However I am no slouch either. If this partnership is to prevail and achieve its highest potential for success, we need to be on equal terms of respect and status to be able to support each other to the best of our abilities." Pierce extended a friendly hand and grinned. "Whaddya say...partner?" In the back of Pierce's mind, he hopped he made the correct decision in utilizing the democratic approach. This is either going to be really good, or reeeaaally bad, the ghost thought.
Toa took a moment to consider the Pierce's offer. If he agreed, he would have to allow Pierce to make his own decisions, something which he was not ready to allow. However, it was true that the Gengar was powerful, for a commoner, or he would not have been invited here. Toa had yet to see the power of the other 'heroes' but he did not doubt that they were certainly above average. Otherwise Toa would have to kill them all for their weakness. If he disagreed and tried to take command over Pierce, it would certainly end in discord. Toa didn't need a partner, but he could certainly use Pierce's strengths, at least until he was done with this silly little mission. Finally, logic outweighed pride. "I have no doubt that you present above-average strength, Pierce. Otherwise you wouldn't be here now, for I would have to kill you," Toa said calmly. "Therefore, I release you of my command. Your standing is high enough to earn you that." Toa extended his hand to Pierce. "I am Toa the Blackhearted Duke. Remember it well." He shook the Ghost-type's hand. With that, he started walking forward, taking the lead as he rightfully should. "Oh...and one more thing:" Toa added, "cross me, and you won't live to regret it."
Pierce sighed with a mixture of relief and satisfaction. This is going to be interesting, he though while grinning. Although what the Mienshao said about Toa was obviously true, what he did have was unyielding confidence and for that, he had gained Pierce's respect. Contrary to the other heroes, the ghost didn't let the attitudes of others bother him as he believed it to be pointless and rather amusing when others let their emotions send them spiraling into a silly squabble. Thus, he was more or less unaffected by Toa's attitude, or at least not as bothered by him as the others.
After that they both continued to scout along, it was less than a minute before they heard a eerie humming. Pierce immediately levitated overhead to scan the area. Just as the ghost gathered his wits, a Spiritomb sends a shadow ball hurling at Pierce's blind spot. "Gahh!!", was all the Gengar could utter as he endured the underhanded attack. He quickly glances down at Toa who is also being also confronted by a what seemed to be a Yanmega. Not wasting any time, the opposing ghost closes in and releases a repulsive wave of dark pulses. Pierce, charges a focus blast and sends it colliding with the dark wave to counter it, but the fighting type attack itself does nothing to Spiritomb as its ghost type renders it useless.
The eerie humming unsettled Toa somewhat...he had heard that humming before. It was the indistinct humming of a Yanmega. Not just any Yanmega, either. Toa's suspicions were confirmed when the source of the sound attacked him without warning. Toa stepped back as the Yanmega charged towards him, swiftly dodging what would've been a Bug Bite. This Yanmega, as Toa recalled, was named Shurin. He was one of the commanding officers in Squadron B, a section of the King's Guard that specialised in reconnaissance missions. Toa had gotten to know the members of Squadron B quite well in his adolescence, when his father had taken him to see the King's Guard in action. He recognized the Spiritomb, whom Pierce had so valiantly engaged with, as Hurihen, another one of the commanding officers of Squadron B.
"Sorry, zzzzir," Shurin began, "king Aion's orderzzzzz." With that, he lunged in for another Bug Bite. Although they were former acquaintances, Toa was not planning on going any easier on Shurin as on any other enemy. After all, Shurin and Hurihen had seen him now, and if they escaped with their lives, they could report it to Aion, effectively compromising Toa's location. He could not allow that to happen. Shurin was almost upon Toa when the Zoroark pulled the same dodge as before, but the Yanmega anticipated it and turned in the direction Toa had dodged, managing to scrape his skin with his Bug Bite slightly. "Argh!" Toa exclaimed, more from surprise than pain. He had not expected Shurin to actually manage to hit him. "How dare you?!" he shouted, as the Yanmega turned once more. It seemed that the only attack he knew was Bug Bite, as he kept using it incessantly. The third time he used it, Toa went for a Sucker Punch, since Shurin was going to attack anyway, and managed to knock the Yanmega off course with the strong punch, sending him crashing to the ground. The Yanmega got up as quickly as he got down, though, readying another charge. Toa readied for Shurin's next Bug Bite, but what came was quite different. He went for an Air Slash this time. Toa, predicting it just before it hit, quickly countered with a Night Slash, and the two Slashes pushed against one another for a moment before both dissipating, leaving the two at a stand-off.
Backing off Pierce quickly regroups with Toa. "I think a switch in our opponents would be the best thing to do...". Toa looked at Pierce for a moment, realizing that by being near him, he was attracting Hurihen the Spiritomb. He wanted to finish off the indignant Yanmega himself, but realized the tactical advantage in switching opponents. "Fine. You better kill him as well as I would have," Toa said to Pierce, before walking in the direction that Hurihen drifted.
Zi-Zi's Journey - Lindsey Stirling
"Oh, goodness," Durand said, seeing Reginald fight and get hurt. He had faith in his apprentice, so he hung back and watched him idly.
The ruins around him shook with power as the Alakazam blew the Houndoom back with a psychic technique that looked like it fried his brain out right. The dark type rolled on the ground, where he stayed. Durand was about to face Reginald, but then his eye caught something on top of a high, broken column. He slowly raised his head, his eyes focusing on the tall, dark figure. Black robes concealed its feline body features, while a hood hid its head in darkness. Only a single left eye, a shining emerald jewel, stared back at him as it balanced its body on the tip of the broken column.
An eerie feeling engulfed Durand, who felt the pulsing, dark power of the Pokemon from where he was standing. He stood stunned, trying to comprehend what he was seeing. This power... is unfathomable, he concluded. In two seconds, the tall figure melted away into shadows: Murkrows that flew away into the sky.
The Xatu Elder took two steps towards the broken column. "Did you see that, Reginald?" he asked, his voice shaking.
Ser Mantarys, the Crimson Captain
Looking up, he saw Mount Aegis piercing through the clouds. The gates of the Sanctum of the Original One were at the very foot of the mountain, at the end of the bridge they were just crossing. His boot crushed a rock beneath his immense weight as he walked, the mercenaries of the Crimson Company following behind him faithfully. All of them were wearing the black band with the red heart, the symbol of the mercenary group. On some of them, the name Crimson Company was carved as tattoos on various parts of their bodies.
Ser Mantarys took his dark eyes from the clouds to look beneath the bridge. Black abyss was the trench that circled the mountain; he could see the bottom through the dark, a pile of useless rocks. This trench was once filled with the holy water that was falling down from the Sanctum, before the Seal. Before the Water Plate was bloody removed, Ser Mantarys reflected. He now fixed his gaze upon the immense gates of the Sanctum. They were made of stone and they had drawings carved over them; all the Paragons were adorned there in convincing stone figures, with the Arceus in the middle. Looking at Him, Ser Mantarys's face broke in a wide, mean grin, thinking that they all believed in a unicorn of sorts with sixteen magical rocks floating about Him.
"Ser Rys," somebody called him from the group, "the gates are sealed. There's no way in."
Ser Mantarys thundered the one who spoke with a death stare, forcing him to look down quickly. "Bugger the gates. I decide if they are truly sealed or not." He turned to look at the massive, stony gates. He was an extremely tall Pokemon for a Krookodile, at least six feet tall, much taller than any of his own kind, but the gates of the Sanctum were thrice his size. And he was proud of his size. He owed his promotion to his size; King Aion managed to see him in the crowd of the Crimson Company and pick him as a candidate for a tourney of his. Oh, Ser Mantarys had fought with such ferocity that he was promoted to a Crimson Captain after a series of victories, while he earned his knighthood and the title 'Ser' that went along with it. He had sworn to protect the innocent, but the very thought made him crackle with laughter at how hypocritical the knight's vows were.
The gates were surely sealed, he judged. "Open the gates," he ordered, as if that was a simple task. Two Rhydons of the mercenaries' vanguard walked through the marble path. They looked up to the stony gates of the Sanctum, then started pushing, but they remained unyielding.
"They won't budge, Ser Rys," one of the Rhydons complained.
"The mountain is bound with spells, I swear," somebody else behind him said. Ser Mantarys didn't care enough to look who it was. If he ever did, that somebody would be dead.
"No wonder we can't teleport to the peak--"
"All of you, shut the bloody holes you call mouths and push the gates open," Ser Mantarys rasped, feeling his temper rise. Every time he was angry, the blood pumped in his head brought him headaches, which made him twice as violent. His subordinates knew better than to disobey an order when he was in this state.
Almost all the Pokemon that belonged in the vanguard of the Crimson Company headed to the gates and started pushing and tackling. A vain attempt. Saliva was slowly dripping from the edge of Ser Mantarys's underjaw as he watched them. He could not abide standing idle when Elder Durand and the power of Area 52 was on their trail, and these gates were blocking their way. If they did not push past them soon, they would be forced to fight... he did not want it to come to that so soon. Not before they infiltrated the Sanctum.
He suddenly jerked around, sensing a dark presence. It was standing behind him, cloaked from head to toe in a black robe, concealing his everything, almost as tall as him. A Murkrow with perfectly round red eyes was sitting on his shoulder. Under the hood, only a bright left green eye was showing. As always, there was an ominous aura about his person, as if there was something horribly wrong with him. Oh, he was no normal Pokemon, Ser Mantarys could figure as much. But they were both serving the King, so he had to bear him.
"Look here, mates. The Stranger," Ser Mantarys announced out loud, turning to the hooded Pokemon, who was truly a stranger, "you're late, Stranger. Were you getting your kicks off of slowing that fool of an Elder?" the Krookodile slapped his knee and held his gut, breaking in a rough laughter that echoed in the walls of the trench. Some of his men found it appropriate to laugh as well, though their laughter was biased. None of them seemed to be in a laughing mood when the Stranger was around. After they challenged him to mess with the two rangers from Area 52 that had appeared in the ruins last night, they had seen how he dealt with his prey. The rangers got eaten by Murkrows. A whole flock of them, popping out of nowhere and devouring the two small Pokemon with such ferocity that even Ser Mantarys was impressed. The Stranger's hysterical laughter convinced him, too. He was truly serving the King, despite the mercenaries doubts.
The Stranger stared at him in silence, until the Crimson Captain's raspy laughter quelled down. Then, he turned at the gates. The mercenaries were still trying to push them open with no luck.
"Blow them up," the Stranger told Ser Mantarys quietly, disturbingly casually. The Murkrow on his shoulder screeched the same three words for all to hear. "Blow them up, blow them up, blow them up." The Krookodile blinked at his suggestion, then turned at his men.
"You all heard the bird, didn't you?" he shouted, his voice echoing in the abyss below the bridge. "Bring the Electrodes and bugger these bloody gates to bloody pieces!"
One of the Pokemon stepped towards him in protest; it was a Quagsire, with the black band of the Crimson Company fastened around his fat neck. "Ser! You cannot mean this! This is the resting place of Arceus... it would be disrespect. I will not do it."
Ser Mantarys always moved quicker than anyone anticipated. He grabbed the Quagsire's head with a hand and pressed it in. Before the Pokemon could scream or wail, his head was smashed in by the Krookodile's immense claws. Blood in hand, he kicked the lifeless body away and stared down at his men, who looked at him in distressful silence.
"COME ON! Question me again! I will have your heart carved out and eaten in front of you," Ser Mantarys screamed at them, his saliva flying in every direction. His head was pounding with rage. He turned behind him, at the Pokemon who guarded their rear. "Bring the Electrodes, I said, and damn Arceus."
The Pokemon moved quickly, deftly rolling a dozen Electrodes towards the gates, careful to move around the blood pool the Quagsire had left. The explosive Pokemon were asleep - the healers of the mercenary group were giving them potions that induced light narcosis, as not to explode within their ranks. They weren't trained; they were wild Electrodes. No sane Pokemon would use the technique explosion for the sake of anyone. These were slaves, though, and wild as they were, they exploded on provocation. Slavery was forbidden in the Kingdom, even of the wild Pokemon, but King Aion turned a blind eye for his beloved Crimson Company.
The others backed off to the bridge as a Magmar was about to lit the fuse, figuratively. He shot two trails of fire at the round Pokemon, who woke up from the pain. Ser Mantarys watched unsmiling as they started shining in a blinding white light, which indicated they were gathering energy. He suddenly glanced at the Stranger, curious to see how he would react. All he saw was his dark, unmoving and eerie figure, and his single left eye fixed on the gates without blinking.
The gates exploded, rubble flying everywhere.
"Yield! I yield," the Luxray shouted after having tried to maneuver Tsulong around.
"Indeed, you do," the Arcanine replied without pity and with a vicious pounce, he stomped his foe, locking him onto the ground. His flaming fangs were dug into his throat, igniting his fur. The Luxray howled from pain at first, his black fur on fire, until his throat was torn off and he could howl no more. Only Tsulong's heavy breathing was heard in the lonely ruins for a few moments. He was leaning over the Luxray's dead body, his jaw and fur bloodied. He ran. But not very fast. Tsulong had gone after him into the ruins, and he had lost Vince behind him.
A sharp sound from far away made him perk up his ears in alert and look in the sky, his pupils dilated. He saw light and smoke from the direction of Mount Aegis, rubble flying high into the sky, leaving trails of smoke. The Sanctum, he thought, starting to panic. Heart thumping in his chest, he jumped to his feet again in an extremespeed dash that would take him to the Sanctum's gates as fast as possible. He sped through the streets, the ruins a blur around him, leaving a cloud of dust behind him as he ran.
Tsulong was standing on the edge of the bridge soon enough, watching the smoke and dust settle down. The explosion had left nothing of the gates and the drawings carved on them; the Paragons had shattered into a thousand pieces. Some had fallen in front of the gates, a miserable sight of more ruins. The Arcanine smirked his eyebrows, disturbed, as he tried to look through the subsiding smoke for possible enemies, but he saw nobody. The gate to the Sanctum is open, the realization hit him. Arceus waits for us at the top, and who knows what the King's dogs intend to do up there. But... I can't go on alone.
Durand popped up next to him in a teleport. He seemed in distress, his eyes shining from the loose power his tears brought. Tsulong looked at him with pity in his own black eyes. "Let's wait for the others," Tsulong suggested to the quiet Elder, who was obviously stricken. Durand did not speak, but Tsulong knew him well enough to know what he was thinking. If the others hadn't slowed him down with questions, we would be the first ones here.
Toa the Blackhearted Duke
"So, Hurihen, we meet again," Toa snarled, a malicious grin on his face. The Spiritomb, Hurihen, only stared at him with a blank face. "Toa. You are wanted by the king, alive. We must take you," he said flatly. Toa chuckled as he said this. "No. You will not survive this long enough to take me, Hurihen. Make no mistake about that." Without waiting any longer, Toa charged at Hurihen. The Zoroark ran on all fours at him, readying a Night Slash. Hurihen tried to dodge to the side at the last minute, but Toa predicted this. He knew of Squadron B and their tactics. They always travelled in pairs: one Brute and one Preserver. Shurin was obviously the Brute, with his constant charging and attacking, whereas Hurihen was the Preserver, always trying to defend and preserve himself through strong defences and dodging. Therefore, in mid-charge, Toa began running with two legs, and extended his arms as far as he could to both sides, each arm's claws equipped with a deadly Night Slash. Hurihen, who had drifted to the right, was hit by the outstretched Night Slash and fell to the ground.
For a moment, it seemed as if Hurihen was dead, but Toa knew better than that. He came to a halt and approached the fallen Spiritomb, who got up as quickly as he had fallen when Toa was near, then attacked with an Ominous Wind. The attack didn't do too much damage to Toa, who merely marched on towards the increasingly worried Spiritomb as the attack hit him. The wind disappeared, revealing a snarling Toa ready to lunge at his foe. The Spiritomb drifted backwards, avoiding Toa's attack just in time. Toa landed on the ground with a loud thump, unconscious. Hurihen was confused by this, not expecting the Zoroark to faint so easily. He cautiously approached the fallen hero, inspecting him to see if he was truly unconscious. Indeed, he was. "Now, you shall come with me."
"I don't think so," said a voice behind Hurihen. He quickly turned to find Toa standing there, and before he could react, he was hit with another Night Slash. He fell to the ground in the exact same spot where the unconscious 'Toa' had fallen, to find nothing there. He quickly realized what had happened. "You and your mind tricks, Zoroark! Arceus damn you!" Hurihen shouted, too battered to get up. "That's a dangerous thing to be saying around here, Hurihen," Toa mocked, as he finished the Spiritomb off with one last Night Slash.
Just as he finished the fight, a loud boom resonated throughout. Toa raised his head and sniffed the air in hopes of finding the source. He looked further, in the direction of the mountain, to find smoke rising in the air. He'd seen this kind of explosion before; this was the result of several Electrode using Explosion. But what Pokemon in their right mind would be crazy enough to use such a move...unless...
Then, it all clicked. No Electrode was crazy enough to use Explosion, even a wild one. Therefore, the only possible way that might have happened was if someone had forced them to explode. However, using Electrodes to blow something up was illegal because it was a form of slavery. There was only one band of Pokemon who were actually allowed to conduct such atrocities, and that was only because they were in the king's favour. This band of mercenaries were far more powerful than any of the king's Squadrons, or any other branches of the King's Guard. They were among his favourites, which was why he allowed them to use any methods necessary to achieve their goals. And they were called...
"Pierce!" Toa shouted at his companion. "Kill him quickly, we have bigger problems!" As much as Toa hated to admit it, the Crimson Company were among the strongest Pokemon under the king's command, and a real challenge even for him. They had probably used their Electrode bombs to blow up the gates leading to the Sanctum. His suspicions were affirmed when he arrived at the gates, not having waited for Pierce to follow. There stood the Arcanine, Tsulong, and the Elder, Durand. He approached them slowly, his gaze drifting from them to the ruins of the gate before him. he stopped a few paces ahead of the two. "The Crimson Company..." he muttered simply. He then spoke louder. "I take it you've already met some of the Crimson Company?" He began. "There's more. Squadron B of the King's Guard scours these ruins, and I wouldn't be surprised if we found Squadron A and C too. Stay on your guards."
Toa proceeded into the ruins without another word. He did not care about the others enough to wait for them, nor did he care about Arceus and his damned Sanctum. He wanted to find a member of the Crimson Company and get a real challenge.
Faolan the Wicked
Roscoe the Leech
Faolan was utterly still as he observed the world differently. It was easier like this, surrounded by artificial buildings. They lacked the life of the forest, the living energy of plants and the residue of other Pokemon. Here there was only stone and the faint echoes of death. It made it much simpler to pick out the pulsing blue auras of living beings. His companions were all easy enough to spot, even if it was difficult to pick out their individual auras when they were close to another.
There was the Arcanine, the Alakazam... But he needed to look away from them. They could handle them-
The sudden appearance of an aura made his tail flicker. The sudden appearance of life in an area previously devoid of such was like a bright glow in the middle of the night to Faolan as he observed the world through aura. He could see only one, incapable of picking out the smaller Pokemon's aura when a much larger, more vibrant one blazed so close nearby. Hmm.
Was this the manner in which the King was transporting his troops, though teleportation? It made sense. It was quick, but taxing to send large groups. It was more likely that the King was sending his more powerful soldiers first and foremost, acting as a vanguard to clear the path. If it was one of the stronger ones, surely it was Faolan's duty to annihilate him.
Luckily, he was fairly close to the Mianshao. A running leap, five seconds of sprinting and other jump across a wide street let him gaze down upon his newfound prey. A Sceptile. Faolan frowned slightly. Sceptile. Unfortunate. Grass, which he had two superpowered moves against, but Sceptile were fast and strong and deadly. Not quite as deadly as he, luckily. Most likely knew Leaf Blade, Giga Drain, and one particularly powerful move- Frenzy Plant if he was unlucky, Solarbeam if he was. Leech Seed if he was cursed by Arceus.
No sign of the teleporter- either this was a very interesting Sceptile, or his teleporter was gone. In which case, it was clearly best to end this as quickly as possible.
Faolan's lithe, limber body moved and shifted, tensing and relaxing his muscles in a Swords Dance before he leaped high into the air, aiming to come down straight on top of the Sceptile in a powerful Acrobatics.
"Well," Roscoe muttered, stretching one last time, "time to--" He paused, his eye twinkling as it Detected something. So soon? The Sceptile stepped to one side, his arm-leaves glowing green as he swung a Leaf Blade at the moment he anticipated his attacker to hit the ground.
Hmm. He was quick, Faolan gave him that. Observant, too. But he moved too swiftly, allowing Faolan to hit the ground and crouch down with that same movement, letting the Leaf Blade pass over his head. At that close range, smaller than his opponent, Faolan held an advantage he didn't want to give up yet. He attempted a U-Turn, aiming to lash his whiplike fur against the Sceptile's torso before executing a neat backspring to put some distance between the Mienshao and the Sceptile.
Not a dummy-head, this one. Roscoe felt his Leaf Blade miss and spun with the momentum, his tail presented to the enemy instead of his torso. He then pushed off with his legs and jumped away, feeling the other Pokemon's whiplike U-turn sting his tail. After a second of dashing, Roscoe skidded to a halt and turned back to face...a Mienshao. Not a slow one, either. Weren't the Fenju ruins supposed to be devoid of life?
His whip connected with the tail, his back handspring putting distance between them. Faolan hardly paused in his movements, wrapping one whip around a flaking, heavy stone that had once been part of a wall and spinning to fling it at the Sceptile, grabbing another and doing the same with the other whip.
The Mienshao kept moving, something Roscoe would need to keep up with. The first stone wasn't exactly fast as light, so he had a few moments to dodge to one side. Close behind it was another stone, though. The Sceptile struck outward at it with both Leaf Blades, reducing the stone to less-harmful pieces of rubble. Need to get on th' offensive, soon.
Hm. The Sceptile was fast, Faolan gave him that. Admiration didn't prevent him from strengthening his muscles further with a Swords Dance, taking the minor break in the action to add more strength to his powerful limbs. The Sceptile's counterattack could provide the breakthrough he needed. With his strength augmented beyond its average extraordinary power and his supereffective attacks, a single strike could turn the battle in his favour.
And, he's lettin' me take it. Trouble, if I can't get close enough t' drain him. The Mienshao would likely see a SolarBeam coming...or would he? Roscoe stood up straight and faced his foe, the six seeds upon his back gathering sunlight. As they did so, the Sceptile began edging closer to the Mienshao, both Leaf Blades up and ready to strike or block.
Faolan watched. This was where he excelled. A Psychic might be a capable thinker or a fortuneteller. A Water type could breathe underwater or swim faster than any land-walker. A Grass-type might be at one with nature, or have the ability to drain health, poison or paralyse. But here... The battlefield was where a Fighting-type truly shone.
Which was why Faolan had a split-second of warning before he leaped to one side, a sizable Machamp landing precisely where the Mienshao had been standing a moment before. The ground shook from the force of his drop, all four fists slamming into the stone where Faolan had stood.
Faolan was much more agile than the Machamp, though, and was quick to leap to a second-story window and gaze down at the Sceptile's reinforcement.
"Only a single soldier to reinforce for the Sceptile? I'm insulted. The king must not think as highly of me as he should." Faolan's mouth turned downwards in mild dissatisfaction, keeping the Sceptile in his peripheral vision.
Roscoe leapt back, somewhat surprised at the Machamp's entrance. Friend or foe? It seemed like the Machamp had been trying to hit the Mienshao, yet at the same time, Roscoe didn't recognize him either.
When the Mienshao spoke, Roscoe cocked his head. "The king?" His yellow eyes blinked, keeping both Fighting-types in his vision. "What're you talkin' about?"
The Machamp, after a second of recuperation, pushed himself back up, smirking. "This is rich," he rumbled. "Sure kept you both occupied, your fight did." The Sceptile was much closer, so the Machamp dashed at him, fists raised. Unfortunately, he didn't account for the fact that Roscoe's seeds had been charging. Moments before the Machamp could reach him, Roscoe opened his mouth and fired a SolarBeam point-blank. On impulse, the Sceptile jumped to one side without waiting, whether anyone had been about to hit him or not.
Interesting indeed. Faolan kept watch on both Pokemon from his high vantage point, paying special attention to the Sceptile and noting the green light that glowed faintly from the seeds on his back. A Solarbeam, eh?
Hmm. Judging from the Machamp's words, as well as the manner in which he was struck at point-blank range by the Solarbeam, it seemed unlikely that the pair were on the same side. Which meant...
"It would seem as though the enemy of my enemy is my friend," Faolan stated laconically. "You are one of we... "heroes," yes?"
Okay, there wasn't another attack incoming, and the Machamp was...briefly out of commission, to put it one way. Roscoe brightened as the Mienshao spoke again. "With Durand? Yeah. I was kinda...late."
The Sceptile's ears caught another sound, and he spun around to face the opposite direction. He caught a glimpse of another Pokemon, in a second-story window across the street from the Mienshao. "Talk later, though, 'kay? Someone's out t' get us, y'know."
Now that the Sceptile was no longer seen as an enemy- not quite, anyway- Faolan relaxed. Slightly. Meaning that instead of keeping his eyes on the Grass-type, the Sceptile was instead kept in his peripheral vision. Late. Really.
Talk later. Of course. Faolan gathered aura in his hands and flung an Aura Sphere at the opposite building. He hadn't expected the responding attack- a Dark Pulse, if he wasn't mistaken, one with enough force behind it to dissipate the Aura Sphere.
The world turned blue-black as Faolan read the aura of the surrounding area. A Weavile in the building opposite him. And behind the Sceptile, crouching behind a crumbling wall... A Kabutops.
"Behind you!" he shouted to the Sceptile, not waiting to see if his advice was followed before he leaped through the air, aiming to strike the Weavile.
The Mienshao's warning was well-timed. As the Kabutops leapt out at him, Roscoe spun around to meet the Kabutops' Slash with one Leaf Blade, the other only a second behind in striking the Kabutops' torso. As his foe stumbled back slightly, Roscoe took the moment to get inside its guard and grabbed his shoulders.
"Bad choice," the Sceptile hissed, eyes glinting as his arms glowed green. The Kabutops began struggling fiercely as Roscoe Drained his energy, then tried to "hug" him with his sickles to do some damage. Roscoe let go and pushed the Kabutops away to avoid the worst, ignoring the cuts in his sides as he grinned in delight. "Bad for you, anyway," Roscoe added, tongue flicking out as his cuts faded almost as quickly. The remainder of the energy was directed to the seed that seemed to hang from his neck.
The Kabutops' eyes narrowed - whether in fear or something else, Roscoe wasn't sure - and he turned to escape, his movements sluggish. I'd almost think these aren't th' king's men, if it weren't for th' disadvantage here. Roscoe was almost casual in his movements as he stepped forward in order to strike down the Kabutops with one last Leaf Blade. He wasn't in the mood for another taste of this Pokemon's energy.
Lacing his claws together, Roscoe cracked his knuckles and turned away from the broken body. Unfortunately, in his confidence and easy manner, he hadn't accounted for the fact that the Machamp had recuperated. Only a quick twinkle and a Detect kept Roscoe from receiving the full force of the Machamp's Fire and Ice Punches. Instead, they clipped the Sceptile's side and arm. He retaliated with a Leaf Blade to the chest, upper-left arm's Fire Punch, right arms' Ice Punches, face, face again. Roscoe then brought the full power of his Giga Drain to bear, leaving the Machamp to fall to one knee.
"When you meet the others after this life," Roscoe hissed in an unusually sinister tone, signs of his different burns fading, "tell them the Leech sent you." A Leaf Blade to the neck, and the Machamp showed no further sign of life.
Roscoe's attention was diverted when a sharp boom resonated throughout the area. Wait, that's Mount Aegis, isn't it? Considering the rubble and smoke in the distance, he decided it was more important than finding the Mienshao again. Besides, if the Fighter was at least as good as him, then he'd show up again soon enough.
A short while later, Roscoe slowed to a walk as the bridge to the mountain came into view. Already at the scene of the crime were a Xatu and Arcanine. Roscoe thought he saw the back of a Zoroark before the Dark-type disappeared inside. His gaze returned to the duo; he grinned as his memory clicked. "Durand! Tsulong!" Roscoe called in greeting, approaching the two Pokemon. "Long time, no see?"
Of course, a glance at the destruction of the gates left Roscoe serious and unsmiling. "Should we worry 'bout any more Cyalans out here?"
Pierce the Cunning Shadow ~ Fenju Ruins
Pierce took a moment to observe his new adversary, however it wasn't long before Shurin the Yanmega fired off a powerful air slash from a distance. Pierce simply outstretched a hand and used psychic to disperse the blade of wind, simply staring at the giant dragonfly. At this the Yanmega charged, its speed seemed to have doubled, lands a solid bug bite upon the ghost. However Peirce, merely shakes the ineffective attack off and takes the opportunity to brutally bash the giant bug with shadow ball from close range. Shurin staggers midair seeming to have taken quite the toll from the attack. The battered bug then decided to shift tactics and used ancient power, craftily using the fallen stones of the ruins, to attack the Gengar from all directions. Pierce then swiftly went about evading the ridiculous amount boulders being hurled at him, some he skillfully drifted by, others he demolished with Focus Blast. "Your a bothersome one", Pierce said closing in, and slams the Yanmega down to the earth below with psychic energy.
"Why don't you juzzzzt give up, and I'll spare your life? This doezzznt even involve you!", uttered the quavering voice of the Yanmega; obviously in an act of desperation. Shurin's compounded frantic eyes scanned for some kind of esccape route.
"Honestly, you're in no position to bargain with me.", Pierce said bluntly. Just then, the Gengar turned his head to hear a frantic call from his partner; "Pierce!" Toa shouted at his companion. "Kill him quickly, we have bigger problems!"
Upon seeing Pierce turn away, the Yanmega struggled with pain and charged again with night slash, aiming to finish him. Not to be taken by surprise again, the bug didn't make it far before Pierce had struck him back down with a jagged thunderbolt, the electricity sizzling his wings beyond repair. Pierce then quickly finished him off with a shadow ball. Pierce then quickly caught with Toa who had failed to wait for him and hastily ran off to the Sanctum. However Pierce was the faster of the two and was able to regroup with Toa in no time. The Zoroark then filled him in on what the Zoroark interpreted from the explosion of electrodes on their way to the Sanctum. "The Crimson Company...", Pierce repeated to himself. Doesn't sound like a friendly bunch of Pokemon. Upon reach the entrance, they were met by Tsulong and Durand. Toa was the first to speak.
He approached them slowly, his gaze drifting from them to the ruins of the gate before him. he stopped a few paces ahead of the two. "The Crimson Company..." he muttered simply. He then spoke louder. "I take it you've already met some of the Crimson Company?" He began. "There's more. Squadron B of the King's Guard scours these ruins, and I wouldn't be surprised if we found Squadron A and C too. Stay on your guards."
Toa then proceeded hastily within the structure, not intending to wait on anyone...as usual. Pierce look worriedly at Durand and Tsulong then glanced back at the old Sanctum. "...I'm going in with him to make sure he doesn't get himself killed.", Pierce said finally and flew into the temple after his impatient companion, not waiting for a response from either the Arcanine or Xatu.
Zi-Zi's Journey - Lindsey Stirling
Tsulong observed as the one called the Blackhearted Duke walked slowly towards them. It was clear he had just been through a fight; probably every hero had some trouble in the ruins. Tsulong hoped everyone was alright. He had a feeling they would need everyone from their group of heroes up ahead.
"The Crimson Company..." the Zoroark muttered, and Tsulong nodded in agreement, before Toa spoke louder. "I take it you've already met some of the Crimson Company?" He said. "There's more. Squadron B of the King's Guard scours these ruins, and I wouldn't be surprised if we found Squadron A and C too. Stay on your guards."
"The main force of the Crimson Company ought to have progressed further to the inner ruins," Tsulong assumed, but Toa did not wait for the others.
The Gengar Tsulong recognized as Pierce arrived. He seemed rather concerned. "...I'm going in with him to make sure he doesn't get himself killed." Good call, brother, Tsulong thought to himself. If not for the situation, he would be hiding a faint smile in his fur.
Pierce followed Toa past the gates into the inner circle of ruins that was the perimeter of Mount Aegis. This ring of inner ruins was surrounded by the trench, which was so big it was impossible for any Pokemon who could not fly to cross. Only flying Pokemon had ever gotten inside those ruins. Durand had once told him that the gates, which could not be climbed or violated, held those who did not believe in Arceus from going into the inner ruins around the Sanctum. The most faithful of Fenju were granted the privilege of progressing further; these ruins were the temples they built to earn His favor. The gates were probably the only stones that were left untouched after the Seal; now they lay in ruins, allowing any heretic to walk right through.
Thinking of this, he turned at Durand, feeling his uneasiness. "Grandpa, it'll be alright," he said in a mild tone, "I like to think the heroes will truly prove to be heroes."
The Elder simply nodded, staring at the cloud that concealed the peak of Mount Aegis all the time.
Looking at the ruins beyond the gates, Tsulong realized the broken temples provided little coverage from the plain eye; the Crimson Company was not up ahead. He could see Pokemon far away, the King's men, scaling the steps of Mount Aegis all the way up to the top of the mountain - where the Sanctum of the Original One was, above the clouds. The massive stair disappeared in the clouds after a point, but Tsulong knew they led straight to the entrance of the Sanctum. The tale had it that those steps were infinite to those who did not believe in Arceus, and those going up would be forever trapped. Tsulong wasn't the kind of person who'd believe in superstitions, though the people of Area 52 seemed to entertain this rumor.
"Durand! Tsulong!" a voice made him turn around, to see Roscoe approaching them. He was a Sceptile with the attitude of a folk person, which quite surprised Tsulong. You'd think a hero would be born in a city and receive the best education and such, but nature didn't seem to have such standards.
"Hi," the Arcanine greeted him back.
"Long time, no see?"
"Long time indeed," Durand muttered. He was staring at the Sanctum the whole time, making Tsulong wonder what kind of thoughts crossed his mind. The Xatu had visibly calmed down, though his apprentice could not tell why.
"Should we worry 'bout any more Cyalans out here?"
"Yeah, we should," Tsulong said, now looking at the steps. "The Crimson Company's vanguard's just up ahead, Roscoe. Best we get on the move and confront them openly. Who knows what they may be up to."
Durand nodded quietly, still staring broodingly at the clouds that concealed the Sanctum. "These are no natural clouds," he said solemnly, "somebody does not want us to see what is going on... that is quite bothersome. We will have to see for ourselves."
And with that, he walked past the broken gate. Tsulong glanced at Roscoe one last time before he went after his Elder. His eyes drifted on the two shadowy figures that had gone up ahead, Pierce and Toa. Might be they'll know how to approach this. Toa seemed pretty determined to start a fight. He ran past the Xatu to meet up with them.
"These Pokemon gave you trouble, didn't they?" Tsulong asked them, knowingly. "You think it's wise if we run up and just confront them, or should we wait for the others?"
MantarysI ought to ask the King to double my pay, Ser Mantarys thought as he walked up the steps, sweat trickling from his neck to his chest. It wasn't the sun that made him sweat, it was all the damn climbing. The steps seemed to have no end, and when his gaze went up in hopes of finding the Sanctum, all he saw was the clouds, which seemed to be getting darker by the moment. He couldn't see the top, or how long before they reached it. The Krookodile jerked to his side, sweaty, to stare dreadfully at the Stranger, who seemed not a bit weary even after all this climbing. His sustain disturbed Ser Mantarys, who knew that even the men with the most stamina in the Crimson Company were now put to test.
"Aren't you sick of all these steps, Stranger?" he asked him abruptly, hoping for a straight answer out of his mouth or whatever he was speaking with. The hooded, slender silhouette turned slightly to face him.
"The steps were meant to test your faith, Ser Mantarys," the Stranger replied easily in his quiet, collected tone. "The stronger your faith to Him is, the less weary you become."
"There's a god," Ser Mantarys blurted out, "I believe in that, that not enough?"
The Krookodile looked up in the clouds that were darkening by the second. "Do me a favor and bugger that spell of yours, I can't see a damn thing in that fog." He didn't know how the Stranger did it, or what kind of Pokemon had the ability to summon clouds but not rain, and that made him all the more suspicious of him. His left, emerald eye was fixed on him in a manner that Ser Mantarys couldn't decipher.
"The clouds are within the best interests of my mission."
Ser Mantarys let out a rough, raspy chuckle. "Your mission?The King pays us both the same, it's our mission, or have you forgotten? But you're like to forget you're even working for him," he let the implication hang for a second; King Aion could believe whatever he wanted to believe of the Stranger, but Ser Mantarys had his own suspicions, and they had gotten him to think on whose side the Stranger was on. He had heard him apologize to the rangers while his bloody flock of Murkrows devoured them, after all.
The Murkrow that usually followed him was flying above their heads, scouting as if.
Looking at the dark figure next to him, he wondered if there was any shred of kindness or evil in him. Whenever a Lord of the court displeased King Aion, he was stripped of his titles and lands and the Stranger paid him a visit. All that was left behind was bones, always - bones which hung from the ceiling of the throne room, as to warn any who would dare oppose the King. Ser Mantarys had once asked the assassin if he felt bad for what he was doing. The perfect killer has no conscience; only objectives, that was his reply. The Stranger's loyalty to the King had been proven after all the tasks that were set before him and accomplished ruthlessly, easily, swiftly. Indeed, Ser Mantarys was walking next to the perfect killer.
He was a killer himself, only in another way. While the Stranger worked in the impending, impenetrable and engulfing dark that signified his approach, Ser Mantarys attacked people in open combat. It meant riches for him, so, why not? The King paid him to bloody his hands, and he would. Gold meant women, meat and mead.
Starting to miss those, Ser Mantarys thought as he sweated by the gallons. His feet were now dripping. After all this, I'll have a feast to make up for it. I'll be so rich, I'll be eating golden berries and I'll be ****ting gold.
Suddenly, they were at the top. A thin layer of cloud covered the area. Another gate loomed up in front of them, in the end of a small circular plateau amongst the clouds. Above, the spear-like peak of Mount Aegis pierced the fog. Stupid gates. Ser Mantarys cussed. These were the real gates, the gates to the Sanctum. Past those, Arceus lay in his chamber. Nobody had been past these gates the last century, the Krookodile reflected as he examined their structure. He could not be sure where exactly the resting place of Arceus was beyond these doors. They had no drawings or carvings in them, nor were there any statues or columns, only the brown stones of the mountains and a marble floor path that led up to the doors.
"Ser Rys," one of his men reported, "we used up all our supply of Electrodes. We can't blow up these gates."
"We ought to find another way around, then," Ser Mantarys decided. "Send the--" the Stranger cut him off.
"Stand where you are. We will await the arrival of the heroes. Only they may proceed into the Sanctum." His Murkrow screeched after him. "Only they, only they, only they."
"They'll never get past the gates with us in front of them, you fool," Ser Mantarys put in abruptly, then spat on the ground.
The Stranger looked at him, with his green eye sparkling and reflecting the clouds so clearly that for a moment Ser Mantarys thought it was magical. "They will never see us. We will not be here." The tone in which he said it made something in the Krookodile's mind click. He knew.
The men and women of the Crimson Company stood silently in the area for long moments. Dark crept down from the thickening clouds, and they all sunk into the Stranger's dark embrace. They were not there, Ser Mantarys knew then. Between reality and illusion, it was hard to tell which was which.